Cinemas of South India: Culture, Resistance, Ideology

Cinemas of South India: Culture, Resistance, Ideology

Item Code: NAC439
Author: Sowmya Dechamma C.C.Elavarthi Sathya Prakash
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Edition: 2010
ISBN: 019806795X
Pages: 246
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.0 Inch X 5.8 Inch
Weight 440 gm
From the Jacket

With about 800 films per year, India is the leading producer of filmed entertainment in the world. Interestingly, the Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries – the major four in south India – make up over half the share. This collection of diverse but interconnected essays provides a fresh approach to understanding cinemas of south India.

Considering cinema from various language cultures, this volume discusses issues ranging from identity politics and minority discourse to remakes and the politics of gender. The focus is to connect ideologies within varied traditions of films to ideas and images related to language, identity, gender, communities, and politics. The essays look at culture in terms of conventional and transforming norms of societal politics, and more importantly in terms of cultures of cinema; of production, viewing, stardom, and film songs, among others.

Sowmya Dechamma C.C. is Assistant Professor, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad.

Elavarthi Sathya Prakash is Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad.


in this town where the world of men and women existed side by side but separately, it was said that a circus had once come. It was said that even a drama company had been there. But no one was able to say how many women had seen them. Perhaps, they had seen the play. If one of the men in the house had growled that the circus was not meant for women, they would have cowered under the voice.

But for the past few years, a tent came every six months and set itself up in the town. Films which had finished going around every town and were drawing their last breath came to this tent. With the arrival of this tent, the situation of the women may have eased a little, but we can only guess how much. For they had to depend on the men to go to the tent. If the men were in a good mood, they would escort the women to the cinema. Since the women themselves did not want to go out alone, they did not even imagine how they could be in the street without male company. The men took them to the tent, bought the tickets, had them torn at the women’s entrance, took care that they sat down properly, and then brought them home after the film was over.

If one asked how it was that the women labourers who sat in the fronton a mat came there by themselves, and cried and laughed with abandon, one might get this answer: ‘Those creatures? They have no bridle or rein!’ So it meant that only those women loved that which seemed unbridled. But when the scene of Hanuman leaping to Lanka was shown, awe and fascination was felt by all of them sitting there.

The news that the films to come were going to have speech and music had reached the town. Be that as it may, this peaceful and disciplined town shook a little, and the women began to stand on their own legs, when the axe cut into the huge trunk of the deodar tree in the middle of the town. This axe blow, we might say, created a small revolution in the world of the town’s women. Thought the wave arose in a teacup, it was wave nevertheless!


Acknowledgements vii
Introduction: Elavarthi Sathya Prakash and Sowmya Dechamma C.C. ix
Part I – Far from Politices? Questioning the Cinematic
1. Cinema as a Site of Nationalist Identity Politics in Karnataka: M. Madhava Prasad3
2. What is Left of Malayalam Cinema?: Ratheesh Radhakrishnan 25
Part II – The Other Hero: Performance and Negotiation
3. Gender and the Filmic Remake – Nikhila H. 51
4. Contesting the Modern: Sreenivasan and Cintavishtayaye Shyamala Shyma P. 78
5. Dualities and Negotiation: 23rd Imsai Arasan Pulikesi Jananie Kalyanaraman 96
Part III – Of Languages, Cinema, and Identity
6. Film Market and the Telugu Nation: S.V. Srinivas117
7. Telugu Identity, Tamil Cinema, and Cultural Politics: Elavarthi Sathya Prakash 138
8. Visualizing Kannada in the Context of Postmodernity and Postcoloniality: Tharakeshwar V.B. 158
Part IV: Is ‘Local’ Local?; Or Grand and Local Meanings
9. Beyond ‘Bollywood’; Interpreting Indian Regional Cinema: M.K. Raghavendra 173
10. Is There a Kodava Cinema: Sowmya Dechamma C.C. 190
Notes of Contributors 127
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