Celluloid Deities

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

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Description

Towering billboards featuring photorealistic portraits of popular cinema stars and political leaders dominated the cityscape of Chennai, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Studying the manufacture and reception of these billboards_known locally as banners and cutouts_within the context of the entwined histories of the cinema industry and political parties in Tamil Nadu, Preminda Jacob reveals the broader significance of these fragments of visual culture beyond their immediate function as pretty pieces of advertising. Jacob analyzes the juxtaposition of cinematic and political imagery in the extra-cinematic terrain of Chennai's city streets and how this placement was pivotal to the elevation of regional celebrities to cult status. When interpreting these images and discussing their political and cultural resonance within the Tamil Nadu community, Jacob draws upon multiple perspectives to give appropriate context to this fascinating form of visual media.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 318 pages
  • Lexington Books
  • MD, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0739131303
  • 9780739131305

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 onHindi 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.. 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 Collegeshow more

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