Celluloid Deities

Celluloid Deities : The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India

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This book focuses attention on an aspect of India's dynamic and vibrant street art: billboard size advertisements, hand-painted for the entertainment cinema industry and local political parties, that unfurl mural-like across the urban landscape of Chennai, located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. The making and consuming of this public art engenders a space for relay between film celebrities and political figures based on a visual cultural discourse of charisma.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 318 pages
  • 149.86 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 635.03g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739110608
  • 9780739110607

About Preminda Jacob

Preminda Jacob is associate professor of art history and theory in the department of visual arts at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.show more

Review quote

Another book that also deals with an understudied aspect of Indian cinema is Preminda Jacob's Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India (Lexington Books 2008). Most of the scholarship on Indian cinema has focused on Hindi cinema-aka "Bollywood," to the neglect of the rich diversity of filmmaking in other languages in India - and primarily on the narrative elements and thematic significance of these films rather than their associated material and visual culture. Jacob's book deals with the vibrant visual culture associated with Tamil cinema and its very intense culture of celebrity by focusing on the production and reception of the gigantic, hand-painted billboards that advertise films and the towering portraits of political leaders that dominate the urban landscape of Chennai. New York Review Of Ideas- Best Books On Bollywood A scrupulously-researched and thoughtful study of film hoardings and cutout figures in Chennai, South India, the book reveals deep interconnections between cinema and regional politics at work in modern South Asia. Jacob's fine-grained analysis of these spectacular hand-painted ephemera makes visible a 'temporal' network between cinematic spectacle and religious vision, charisma and public culture, and commerce and art, promising to spark debates in many disciplines that have recently turned to an interest in vision, visuality, and the global public sphere. -- Ajay Sinha, Mount Holyoke College In this substantial book, Preminda Jacob profiles what has become a rare form of public art. Celluloid deities examines the art of banners and cut-outs used to publicize films and political parties in Tamil Nadu. The book draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews carried out by the author among the patrons, artists and viewers of the art. The process of commissioning, producing and placing the art is discussed at length Celluloid deities is based on thorough research into the process of producing the art and relates that art to the aesthetics and political economy of Tamil cinema. The book is worth buying and reading for the first four chapters alone. The part of the book, Chapter 3, which deals with the evolution of Tamil cinema, should be a mandatory read for all students of Indian cinema. In addition to the many photographs which illustrate the argument effectively, a much larger range of colour photographs can be viewed on the author's very well designed website at: http://www.celluloiddeities.com. Celluloid deities is a fascinating and well-written book based on much original research. It merits a wide readership among those interested in visual culture, cinema and politics in South Asia. Contemporary South Asiashow more

Table of contents

1 Table of Contents 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Introduction: Of Painters, Politicians, and Film Stars Chapter 4 1. Chennai's Banner Industry Artists and their Methods Chapter 5 2. Cooperation and Conflict in Chennai's Visual Culture: Financiers, Artists and Their Audiences Chapter 6 3. Tamil Cinema: History, Celebrities, Genres Chapter 7 4. Cine Signs: Semiotics of Chennai's Cinema Banners Chapter 8 5. The Coalescence of Tamil Nationalism and the Cinema Industry Chapter 9 6. The Political Cutout: Celebrity and Cult in Tamil Nadu Chapter 10 7. Darshan and Cinematic Spectatorship Chapter 11 8. The Future of Chennai's Visual Culture 12 Bibliography 13 About the Authorshow more

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