Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India by Preminda JacobCelluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India by Preminda Jacob

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

byPreminda Jacob

Hardcover | October 23, 2008

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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.
Preminda Jacob is associate professor of art history and theory in the department of visual arts at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
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Title:Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South IndiaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:318 pages, 9.39 × 6.43 × 0.99 inPublished:October 23, 2008Publisher:Lexington BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0739110608

ISBN - 13:9780739110607

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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 Author

Editorial Reviews

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 lengthCelluloid 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.