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The Cultural Politics of Cinema in Tamil Nadu

In TN, the state government’s sponsorship is actively sought by the film industry whenever there is a change in the government and whenever a new crisis hits the industry. Be it tax cuts or hiking/lowering of ticket prices or anti-piracy measures, the film industry always seeks to profit from the much talked about historical nexus between politics and cinema in TN.

The fact that Tamil film industry is one of the scores of media industries in the state and it alone can not be pampered at the drop of a hat can not wash waters in TN because of the entrenched nexus between politics and cinema.Whenever a new government is installed in TN, Tamil film industry has been the first to host mega felicitation shows in Chennai. Such shows provide ample scope for the industry to place before the government a new list of demands and an endless array of speeches of thanksgiving and expressions of gratitute for past favours.

Interestingly, it is the state where the calls for government support for the film industry are matched by the calls for controls against Tamil cinema from parties like PMK, an ally of the present government. Recently, its founder president, Dr Ramadoss was quoted as saying that his party would cut the number of shows in theatres to two a day when it comes to power.At the height of the controversy over the growing use of English titles by the Tamil film industry during 2004-2006, PMK spearheaded a campaign against the industry’s penchant for English titles. After DMK came to power, it offered incentive for films which carry Tamil titles. The winner in this latest round of politics of cinema in Tamil Nadu is the industry and not the language for the promotion of which the government ostensibly announced the incentive. Now all the films carry Tamil titles. This politics of language in cinema is only the latest game in the cultural politics of Tamil Nadu. Not long ago, we had another game in the name of Khushboo controversy. Ms.Khushboo was sought to be pictured as the enemy of Tamil cultural values when she talked about changing norms of sexual morality in an interview with the Tamil edition of India Today. For a layman’s introduction to the politics of Tamil cinema visit http://www.countercurrents.org/arts-anand020605.htm.

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2 comments

1 Kishore Budha { 01.30.07 at 7:22 am }

What does this inform us about the nature of Tamil society?

2 G Ravindran { 02.01.07 at 11:33 am }

The problem is not with Tamil society per se, but what has been constructed as Tamil society and culture by those who seek to profit from such constructions. The primary beneficiaries of such constructions are the political parties and media, particularly Tamil cinema.

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