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About — Gopalan Ravindran

Gopalan RavindranRavi is a Professor and Head of the Department of Mass Media and Communication Studies, University of Madras,India. He has taught courses in film studies, international communication, and mass communication in Japan, Malaysia, and India. His research interests include film cultures, diasporic cultures, and digital cultures. He approaches these areas using the frameworks of Walter Benjamin, Slavoj Zizek, Michel Foucault, and Anthony Giddens.

Posts by — Ravindran

100 Years of Indian Cinema: Whose Cinema? Whose Centenary? – The Politics of Temporal Film Historiography

August 5, 2013   2 Comments  

Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error is a crucial
factor in the creation of a nation, which is why progress in historical
studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality.
 —Ernest Renan,
Qu’est que c’est une nation? 

Quoting Ernest Renan, the famous British historian, Daniel Woolfe (2006), wrote not long ago that the national framework predominates in historiography and the temporal scope of the same is anchored along four premises. “…four variants of temporal scope. [Read more →]

Rereleases in the Age of Late Modernity: Examining the Rerelease of Karnan Through the Prism of Anthony Giddens

June 17, 2012   2 Comments  

Among the most notable events in Tamil film industry in the recent past, the rerelease of Sivaji Ganesan’s famous mythological Karnan (1964) in the month of March raised curious expectations about its fate at the box office.

Karnan Rerelease Poster In Chennai

During the same month, on March 18, 2012, the rerelease of MGR’s Nadodi Mannan also dominated the film sections of Tamil newspapers and posters across the state. [Read more →]

Filmmaking as a Social Ritual in India and Indonesia

December 17, 2011   No Comments  

I had the opportunity of spending the last two days with a delegation of film makers, film affairs officials and film lab owners from Indonesia. One important highlight of the exchange of ideas was a session hosted today morning by Mr Hariharan, film maker and Director of LV Prasad Film and Television Academy, Prasad Studios, Chennai. Here are his arguments about why we must engage with Indian film industry not through the Western notion of realism or the marker of “escapism”. Hariharan broke new ground in Tamil film industry with his Ezhavathu Manithan (Seventh Man),1982. He is an alumnus of FTII, Pune, and partnered with Mani Kaul, Saeed Mirza in the Yukt Film Cooperative and the making of Ghasiram Kotwal.

“We make 1100 films in a industry that is worth just US $1.8 billion [Read more →]

Rethinking Tamil Television News With Walter Lippmann Part – 2

May 8, 2011   No Comments  

If one agrees with Lippmann’s notion of news, news has a functional attribute: “to signalize an event.” And Lippmann’s notion of truth extends this purpose further by getting us the larger picture of reality in terms of facts. News and truth are not the same , according to Lippmann,but they are tied up inextricably in terms of their purposes with regard to the event. If one applies this logic of news and truth to what Tamil television news channels seek to convey in their “news casts.” what results is a shocking picture of what Lippmann would not have approved, In the name of “news “and “truth,” the news channels which are owned by the politicians take recourse very often to the dissemination of political propaganda as “news” in matters involving their parties and government. [Read more →]

Rethinking Tamil Television News With Walter Lippmann Part – 1

May 8, 2011   No Comments  

One of the seminal contributions of Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion (1922) lies in pointing to the linkages between news and truth, censorship and propaganda, democracy and news. In this post, I would like to engage with the objective of rethinking Tamil Television news through the prism offered by Walter Lippmann in Public Opinion. [Read more →]

Early Tamil Cinema With Deleuze: The Case Of Cintamani (1937)

February 20, 2011   1 Comment  

Last few weeks had been quite hectic as I was trying to connect early Tamil cinema with Deleuze’s notions of movement-image. I was preparing a paper for Dr Stephen Hughes’ (SOAS) seminar on “Early Tamil Cinema” held in Chennai during Feb.17-18,2011. Working on this paper meant working against the “limit” of Deleuzean notions contained in his Cinema I and II books, as pointed out by David Martin Jones. David Martin Jones’ “Towards Another ‘-Image’: Deleuze, Narrative Time and Popular Indian Cinema,” (Deleuze Studies 2 (1) 25-48) points to the limitation of the supposedly eurocentric approach of Deleuze’s Cinema I and II books in examining the case of Indian cinema. [Read more →]

Narcissism, Late Capitalism and Tamil Television: A Freudian Perspective

January 17, 2011   No Comments  

Sigmund Freud made a signal contribution to psychoanalysis through his 1914 paper “On Narcissism: An Introduction”. As a concept, narcissism has been employed in diverse ways to examine a range of socio-political leaders, movements and phenomena. In recent times, the rise of reality television provides ample scope to deal with the concept of narcissism in an entirely different mediascape and a different age of modernity, late capitalism. [Read more →]

A Day To Remember and the Strange Political Economy of Media in Tamil Nadu

October 1, 2010   1 Comment  

Today (October 01) is a day to remember in Tamil cinema for two varied reasons. It marks another birth anniversary of Sivaji Ganesan, the doyen of Tamil cinema who passed away in 2001. It was Sivaji who gave a great boost to the political cinema of DMK during the 1950s. His first film, Parasakthi, 1952, was a scathing statement against the evils of exploitation, superstition, and moral depravity. [Read more →]

The Politics of Moral Panics and Tamil Cinema

September 8, 2010   1 Comment  

What triggers moral panics in Tamil Nadu and who triggers them for what can possibly be taken up as a good PhD level dissertation. There are so many interesting variables and so many hidden variables. This week’s moral panic story concerns the beatings one Tamil film director, Mr Samy, got along with his friends while going to watch his new release, Sindhu Samaveli (The Plains of Sindhu). [Read more →]

National 35 Sprinty BC:The “Made in India” Camera

September 8, 2010   No Comments  

The nation that prides itself as the next superpower and claims to be always third,second or first country to put rockets, satellites of several denominations in space is also a nation that was/is incapable of producing a low tech item such as a 35 mm camera. Its closest attempt in getting a “Made in India” camera was enacted during mid 1970s in a CSIR facility, National Instruments, at Calcutta. The camera sports the tag, National 35 Sprinty BC. It retailed for Rs 780. More on this here.