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Category — Books

Back to the dungeon

It is, without doubt, the worst of times. BTJunkie, the haven for cinephiles across the world, was not even cold (neither was Megaupload), when news of lib.nu shutting down hit academics across the world. Lib.nu, formerly gigapedia, was the online reservoir of knowledge, free knowledge to be precise, housing hundreds of thousands of PDFs of books, available to download, no questions asked. As most of us woke up to an ominously bare page that merely had the words “rip lnu”, a sense of reassurance died.

The crackdown on the grey legal area of intellectual property rights has forced us to rethink the kind access that globalization promised us. Books published by foreign publications that were not easily available even at libraries and films that the increasingly strict and not to mention ridiculously prudish Censor Board refuses to release, were accessible to those of us who wanted to watch something beyond the lazy Las-Vegasness of Kareena Kapoor’s latest outing.

Let’s face it, production houses don’t need an audience any more to break even or even to be successful. The economics of production have changed thanks to intermediary players like television rights, music rights, overseas distribution etc. A full-house is just an incidental feel-good factor, an ego massage really. And as far as books are concerned, especially academic books, students or individuals have never really bought personal copies. No profit comes from individuals, and libraries will buy books irrespective. What then is the crackdown going to achieve?

As we pledge our support to the unidentified owners of lib.nu and to the hopeful aggression of piratebay, may be it is time to rethink what freedom means any more and who it is meant for.

And as I end yet another “The end of…” piece, here’s one by Lawrence Liang who seems to hold more hope than I dare to. Click here to read.

February 19, 2012   2 Comments  

Silhouette: Film magazine


Silhouette is a lively film magazine with a range of interesting articles published from Kolkata (Calcutta) and is available free as an ebook. To obtain it email Amitava Nag (amitava.nag@gmail.com) or download it from its home at Wikidot (link).

September 5, 2009   No Comments  

S.Velayutham’s Book on the Cultural Politics of Tamil Cinema

Selvaraj Velayutham’s edited work “Tamil Cinema: The Cultural Politics of India’s Other Film Industry” is a welcome addition to a growing body of works on Indian cinemas. The book focuses on the cultural politics and history of Tamil cinema. Selvaraj’s introductory note sets the tone for the book’s ambition to break a new ground.

selva-book-coverThe Link to the book is here

December 23, 2008   No Comments  

“It is different, it is truly different…”: An Adornian View of Tamil Cinema’s Logic of Difference

The one short sentence which runs a ceaseless course in the talks and speeches of majority of actors, directors, producers and technicians of the Tamil film industry is, “It is different.” The close counterparts of this sentence are “it is truly different” and “it is new.” Whenever a film enters the production phase or scheduled for release, the people who are associated with the film do not miss an opportunity to tell the [Read more →]

March 23, 2008   4 Comments  

Zizek? Rascal!

Slavoj Zizek

Slavoj Zizek

Žižek has been under sustained attack by critics who find his analysis arcane, subjective and frankly, pointless. In the latest issue of the peer-reviewed and open source International Journal of Žižek Studies (Vol 1, No 3, 2007), Prof Todd McGowan (Univ of Vermont) makes a compelling argument defending a Žižekian reading of cinema (I use the term cinema as opposed to film. Why? Because I define film to be the text while [Read more →]

October 7, 2007   7 Comments  

Publishing more trivia

Barring the few research papers, there is very little information about Indian film music. Manek Premchand’s book Musical Moments From Hindi Films, though not an academic work, attempts to fill that gap. The only sore point is that critical writing is given a go-by in favour of trivia. The book illustrates Pendakur’s point about the lack of serious writing on the industry. Nevertheless, it is a good resource for any researcher into Hindi cinema.

January 31, 2007   2 Comments