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Category — Film and Politics

Narcissism, Late Capitalism and Tamil Television: A Freudian Perspective

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 →]

January 17, 2011   No Comments  

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

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 →]

October 1, 2010   1 Comment  

The Man Who Was Seen Too Much: Amitabh Bachchan on Film Posters

by Ranjani Mazumdar

I’m sharing an essay I read on the Bachchan film posters. It has been written by Ranjani Mazumdar, Associate Professor of cinema studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Ranjani has previously written on the Bombay film poster, but this paper works specifically on Amitabh Bachchan, and it creates a visual map of how cinema responded to societal changes in the 1970s, and also traces Bachchan’s rise to stardom through the film poster.

The essay is four-pages long, and you have to go to the bottom right corner of the page and click on ‘next’, a link that isn’t very visible on the page.

Click here to access the essay.

September 7, 2010   No Comments  

Jafar Panahi still in jail

Celebrated Iranian film director, Jafar Panahi who had made films like The White Balloon, The Circle, Offside among others, was placed under arrest by the Iranian authorities in April 2010.  Despite international pressure to release him, and his wife Tahereh Saeedi’s fear for his health, he continues to be in jail, and according to recent reports has been moved to a smaller cell.

It is a case of life imitating art. There is as yet absolutely no clarity over the reasons for this arrest. It began in February  when Panahi was not given permission to leave the country to attend the Berlinale Film Festival. No reason was quoted officially at the time of the arrest. There have been muffled reasons like he was making an ‘anti-regime’ film which spoke about the events following the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. His wife has denied these claims.

Following growing international pressure, another garbled reason was leaked, claiming that his arrest wasn’t political but he had been “accused of some crimes and arrested with another person following an order by a judge,” (quote from an AFP report). Others have simply stated that he has been arrested because he poses a threat to the country’s security.

The film community from across the world has raised its voice against this unfair arrest. At the moment, support pouring in from Hollywood actors and directors like Martin Scorcese, Ethan and Joel Coen, Robert DeNiro, Michael Moore etc is making the headlines, even though there seems to be no move towards releasing Panahi.

There are also various online petitions doing the rounds. The one endorsed by the family is http://www.petitiononline.com/FJP2310/petition.html

May 3, 2010   2 Comments  

The changing face of Amitabh Bachchan

An appropriately dramatic beginning for this would be, ‘There was once an actor who embodied rebellion, middle-class anger and anguish in popular Hindi cinema.’ Amitabh Bachchan who made the unlawful, illegitimate rogue figure so attractive in the cinema of the 1970s has turned his face away from anything even remotely oblique. [Read more →]

February 3, 2010   23 Comments  

Power, politics and Bollywood

Here’s an interesting article on the politics of Bollywood. Refreshing to be seen in mainstream media.

The questions to ask about a Bollywood film are not whether they are aesthetically good or bad, but how  effective they are socially and politically. Do they add strength to caste society and its institutions? Or do they promote sexual freedom and social anarchy? Artistically, Bollywood films are meaningless.


January 27, 2010   No Comments  

Harishchandrachi Factory: India’s latest Oscar blunder?

harishchandrachi-factory.doThe last few months have seen much frenetic activity around Paresh Mokashi’s Marathi film Harishchandrachi Factory, primarily because it was picked as India’s official entry to the Oscars. While a lot of dinnertime conversation seems to revolve around this film and its supposed uniqueness, it is likely that most of this excitement in the air is based on some reviews about this film and its supposed archival value, because very few people have actually seen it. The question therefore is, is the film really the right choice to send to an international forum as our selection of the best film made in India this year. The answer, is, no. [Read more →]

October 31, 2009   47 Comments  

Inglourious Basterds: Quentin-ssential history

tarantinoNot too many people took the hint Quentin Tarantino was doling out at the Cannes Film Festival this year, when he arrived on the very prestigious, very formal red carpet doing an outrageous dance. The occasion: the world premiere of his Holocaust film, Inglourious Basterds. We think Holocaust and we stop thinking because images from the innumerous Holocaust films – all the way from Sophie’s Choice up to Life is Beautiful and beyond – come rushing back to us, and all we can think of is the cruelty man is capable of, and how that became apparent in the work of the Nazis under Hitler. We forget that the only thing we are really capable of knowing is what is told to us by history text books – six million Jews died, and Hitler killed them. Try as we might, and god knows cinema has continued to try ever since, we will never really know what happened. [Read more →]

October 24, 2009   1 Comment  

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

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 →]

September 25, 2009   4 Comments  

ANNA 100 A Video Documentary With Academic and Research Vision

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 →]

September 12, 2009   25 Comments