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Posts from — March 2007

Conquering the Subaltern:The MGR Way II

Besides MGR’s absolute control over the different aspects of production of his songs, one factor which aided his mission more than what MGR could bargain was the remarkable ability of T M Soundarajan, who sang majority of MGR’s songs, to typecast his voice for MGR. Interestingly, TMS also created a distinctive voice to match Sivaji Ganesan’s screen personae. Sivaji and MGR rode like colossus in the Tamil film industry for nearly 25 years since early 1950s. [Read more →]

March 28, 2007   2 Comments  

Every Age Gets the Cinema It Deserves: The Rise of MKT

Every age gets the cinema it deserves. In the case of Tamil Nadu, as elsewhere in India, the films produced before 1950s were distinguished by their mythological content and countless number of songs. During this period, the ability to sing was the first talent recognised in an actor. The doyen of Tamil cinema during this period was also the first super star of Tamil cinema – M K Thyagarja Bhagavathar, popularly known as MKT. [Read more →]

March 25, 2007   No Comments  

Conquering the Subaltern:The MGR Way

One of the lesser known facts of the typical production process that aided the creation of a MGR film during the 1960s and 1970s is the complete control wielded by MGR in the production of the song and dance numbers in his films. Structured around fervent appeals and calls aimed at the rural and urban poor, songs in his films always espoused the cause of the righteousness of the subaltern existence and whiplashed the enemies of the subaltern. [Read more →]

March 24, 2007   No Comments  

Revisiting the cultural geography argument

In an earlier post, I had put forward the argument that using foreign locales in an arbitrary way (i.e., not placing the narrative in the reality of the geography and culture and instead using them as sites for the enactment of exotic fantasies) was problematic (read here and here). A report in Eux.tv validates the argument. [Read more →]

March 15, 2007   No Comments  

Finland joins the “welcome Bollywood” bandwagon

Apparently not to be outdone by Israel, Finland has upped the stakes in welcoming “Bollywood” to shoot in its country (Pay no money, make great films: Finland to Bollywood, Hindu, March 12). Only furthering the argument put forward earlier here.

March 12, 2007   2 Comments  

Bollywood welcome with open arms – please

And now it is the turn of Israel to welcome “Bollywood”.

“We welcome Bollywood producers whole-heartedly, with open arms and hearts, to shoot in Israel,” Israel’s Ambassador to India David Danieli said in an interaction with PTI journalists here. (from Hindu) [Read more →]

March 10, 2007   No Comments  

Getting niche films to audience: The Esappattukkari case

Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan’s film Esappattukkari will try to avoid the structural barriers that prevent films outside of the popular norm of production and distribution from being exhibited. Todi, directed by the classical music “superstar” is using an interesting strategy of attracting its niche audience by a) providing a space for target audience to watch a specialised film; b) expanding the market for the film by erasing references to its minority authorship, and c) providing an important motivator, i.e., pricing. To put it in plain language, the producers Sri Purna Vidya Productions will book theatres for special screenings and set ticket prices at Rs 10 (22 cents or 11p). [Read more →]

March 9, 2007   1 Comment  

Internet and Tamil film fan activity

The Tamil film fan is imagined as having “voracious appetite for their stars”, as representing the cultural politics of the state, and also as active agents in the making of the star. In an earlier post, I have argued that the Tamil film audience is film literate and can engage in critical reading of cinema. Here is a new dimension. [Read more →]

March 9, 2007   No Comments  

Nishabd — the media interest

The media response to Nishabd has been interesting in the way that it has been earmarked, highlighted, prepared for canonisation, or outrightly rejected. Some samples:

The “this is a watershed” positions the film as milestone in India’s cultural trajectory (for its plot) and highlights a) Amitabh Bachchan’s performance; b) RGV’s authorial genius. Some effort was expended navel [Read more →]

March 8, 2007   No Comments  

Critical reading by the Subaltern

The Koravar community battled with the state to be included in the Scheduled Tribes list, and a study by the Director, Tribial Research Centre, Ooty, studied the community and endorsed the contention that “the traditional occupation, rituals, dialect, kinship terms etc. of Koravar community had several tribal characteristics” ( ‘Koravar’ community people seek ST status’ Hindu, Dec 05, 2006). [Read more →]

March 7, 2007   No Comments