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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

Searching for the Roots of Cinema in India with Stephen Hughes

February 6, 2010   1 Comment  


After demolishing the “established fact” that Electric theatre was the first permanent theatre in India in his May 2003 Seminar article “Pride of Place,” Stephen Hughes, a well known SOAS (University of London) scholar working on early Indian cinema history, came down heavily on the damage caused by the wrong “chronology of firsts” in Indian film historiography at a seminar entitled “Searching for the Origins of Cinema in Colonial Madras” on Feb.03,2010 at University of Madras. [Read more →]

The Bandwagon Effect of Wrong Film Historiography: The Case of Electric Theatre in Colonial Madras

February 1, 2010   3 Comments  

Despite several volumes on the varied dimensions of Indian cinemas by numerous Indian, non-resident Indian and foreign scholars, film historiography remains a patchy area of study in India. In the absence of dependable archival sources on the early attempts by film pioneers in different parts of the country and their silent films, what circulates are accounts woven around the mainstreaming practices of the histories woven by inaccurate and ethnocentric accounts of film historians taking a peek at the fairly distant past and its fluid and unverified circumstances, particularly of the first four decades of India’s tryst with the moving images. [Read more →]

Zizek Enters India

January 11, 2010   13 Comments  

More than a year after his entry into India (through the India reprint of TSOI), Zizek arrived in India (in flesh and blood) last week to do a lecture series with Navayana publishers and for field work in the IT lands of Bangalore.

Polimer: Another Tamil Channel in a Cluttered Market?

September 25, 2009   1 Comment  

polimerA new channel, Polimer, was added on Sep.23 09 to the overcrowded market of Tamil television at a function in Chennai. The launch has several implications for the satellite channels controlled by political parties and the political families. [Read more →]

Rare! This is Rare!!!: MGR’s Autobiographical Words on BBC

September 25, 2009   4 Comments  

PosterAyiraththil Oruvan

Many of the accepted notions of the history of Dravidian Political CInema remain on a plane of contestations borne of divergent views of the yesteryears stars and their associates (who collaborated in the making of the Dravidian political cinema) about how it all started. [Read more →]

The Social Practice of Photography

September 20, 2009   1 Comment  

As expected, Frank Heidemann’s lecture on the “Photographic Processes and Artefacts,” hosted by the Dept.of Mass Media and Communication Studies, University of Madras, on 18 09 2009, evoked a very good response. A good number of senior professors (from disparate disciplines such as philosophy, history, statistics and public affairs) along with students in Journalism and Communication, Electronic media and other courses attended the first session of the Media and Society Seminar Series and enjoyed the lucid presentation of Prof.Frank Heidemann. Prof.Steve Hughes, SOAS, University of London, whose work on early Tamil cinema audience is well known, was also in the audience. Here is more on what I wrote today on the topic.

ANNA 100 A Video Documentary With Academic and Research Vision

September 12, 2009   25 Comments  

ANNA 100 is a video documentary with an academic and research vision, among the clutter of videos produced by govt. agencies and Tamil media on the eve of Anna centenary celebrations. The documentary is produced by Prof. R. Thandavan, Dept.of Anna Centre for Public Affairs, University of Madras. It is directed by R R Srinivasan, a well-known documentary filmmaker, who became famous for his Nadhiyin Maranam (Death of a River) and En Peyar Palaru (My Name is Palaru), in association with the Dept.of Mass Media and Communication Studies, University of Madras. [Read more →]

Understanding the Making of Nalla Thambi (1949) and the Production Conventions of Tamil Cinema During 1940s I

September 6, 2009   4 Comments  

I have been planning to document the experiences and encounters of Tamil film artists who worked during 1940s-1960s, but with limited success as many old living artists are difficult to trace to begin with and meet their natural ends of their lives by the time we are able to locate them. I was lucky to meet two important living sources recently, Mr S S Rajendran and Mr Subbu Arumugam and succeeded in documenting their experiences and encounters in Tamil cinema and politics during 1940s-1960s. I hope to post the audio files of the sessions with the two in the days to come. But here is what transpired [Read more →]

Remembering Theena Muna Kana,N.S.Krishnan and the Camouflaged Narrative Devices of Tamil Political Cinema

August 30, 2009   4 Comments  

Nagercoil Sudalaimuthu Krishnan, popularly known as NSK/Kalaivanar,iNSK2 who died on this day in 1957, remains unrivalled for his stellar ideological contributions to Tamil cinema in general and Tamil political cinema in particular through his multifaceted roles as comedian, singer, director and producer. He started his theatre career in 1924 and film career in 1936 with his role in Menaka. Born in a oral society such as ours, he cleverly chose what suited him and his audience and avoided comedy genres such as slapstick, screwball, mime etc., His comedy roles were imbued with a vision of social and political transformation even as they [Read more →]

The Politics of Tamil Televison: The Bane of Cross Media Ownership?

May 30, 2009   1 Comment  

I have already written on the the strange political economy of media in Tamil Nadu in several of my earlier posts. Pl. read them before going through the present post.

In a state where every major political party, barring the CPI (M) and CPI, owns one or several channels, depending on their political and financial prowess, the first casualty in the short term appears to be truthful accounts of local, national and international events. [Read more →]