“Fat lady in the theatre,” “Fat woman in car,” and “Mother of 9 children” are some of the roles attributed to Uma Devi Khatri, aka Tun Tun, in her Wikipedia filmography. Tun Tun, regularly typecast and often appearing for a few seconds without any narrative consequence, was a household name, yet her star persona has yet to garner much attention. This essay takes up this lack of attention, scholarly and archival, to speculate on a connection between Tun Tun's corporeal excess and the narrative inconsequentiality she was expected to occupy. Looking beyond her image as a superfluous comedienne, this essay investigates the narrative of Tun Tun as an ambiguous one that can be interpreted, in spite of its subversive potential, as reinforcing normative codes of ideal womanhood.
“Fat Woman in a Car”: The Curious Case of Tun Tun
Suvadip Sinha is an assistant professor of South Asian literature and culture in the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on modern South Asian cultures and literatures. His works have been published in such journals as South Asian Popular Culture, South Asian Film and Media, Cultural Critique, and Interventions.
Suvadip Sinha; “Fat Woman in a Car”: The Curious Case of Tun Tun. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2017; 3 (2): 78–97. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2017.3.2.78
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