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Film

Vijay Sethupathi: Tamil Cinema's Postmodern Hero

Vijay Sethupathi's take-off as Kollywood superstar is unprecedented. Achieved, as it were, by subverting the industry's heroic conventions.

Film

The 21st Century Counterculture of  Pa. Ranjith's 'Kaala'

Is the incandescent and resplendent but bloated Kaala a transnational manifesto resurrecting the Left to rollback rightwing tribalism's global onslaught?

Film

Slumgod Millionaire: On 'Nayakan', the Godfather of Indian Gangster Films

In revisiting Nayakan we are reminded that men become gods not as a sign of presumed cultural backwardness but because the modern nation-state has failed.

Books

'Moscow 1956' and the Beginning of the End of Soviet Rule

Arresting and weighty, Moscow 1956 recreates the triumph and tragedy of a society recovering from the ravages of despotism but still ensconced in the throes of an authoritarian political system.

Visual Arts

From Amar Akbar Anthony to Baahubali: Whither Indian Cinema's Secularism?

A retrospective of Manmohan Desai’s Bollywood classic Amar Akbar Anthony, and the films it has influenced, 40 years on.

Film

Performing Bestiality: Beauties and Beasts in Tamil Cinema

Middle of the road Kollywood’s strange obsession with bestiality through the ‘Stockholm syndrome’ demands attention.

Visual Arts

Hardline Feminism and Unfettered Capitalism in the Action-Masala, 'Mannan'

How does a beautiful young corporate bigwig control a rambunctiously charismatic Alpha-male trade unionist?

Film

Is Indian Cinema's First Chick Flick, 'Mouna Raagam', a Hindu Nationalist Fantasy?

The "chick flick" medium doesn't completely obfuscate the espousal of the triumph of Hindu conservatism over secular-liberal institutions and socialist ideology.

Reviews

'Kabali' Is a Cerebral Gangster Film

Kabali, Rajinikanth's finest film in years, asks (and answers) whether the lumpenproletariat can be revolutionary.

Film

From Yugoslavia to South India: The Rise of Tamil Turbo-folk

Like its Serbian counterpart, Tamil Turbo-folk masquerades as ethno-nationalist resistance against the dislocations brought to bear by nation building, liberalization, and globalization.

Reviews

Trailing the Artisans of Oneiric Worlds in Anand Pandian's 'Reel World'

Reel World reconciles the recondite with the banal, the sublime with the quotidian, and the real with the mythological.

Film

Birdman v Uttama Villain: Portrait of the Artiste As an Older, Wiser Man

Making their films resistant to easy consumption and demanding respect for the artiste is essential to the spirit of Birdman and Uttama Villain.

Books

How Representative of India is Bollywood?

Axiomatically, Bollywood’s India is a survey of the collective dreamscape created by a billion desires and dreads.

Film

Does the Title of the Bollywood Blockbuster, 'PK', Actually Stand for Performing Kulturkampf?

In the kulturkampf between India’s intelligentsia decrying the ‘cultural terrorism’ of extremists, a film like PK has me wondering, how long can secular liberals retain the moral high ground?

Film

Tamil Horror Films: Madness, Modernity and of Course, Misogyny

While Hollywood horror thrives on the anxieties over the persistence of evil, emanating from a malevolent source, Tamil horror films deal with the prevalence of social injustice.

Film

The Defiant New Postmodern Tamil Cinema

Fed up with the empty rhetoric of utopian ideology and highfalutin discourse, the new generation of filmmakers take their frustrations out on the grand narratives of Tamil cinema.

Film

The Myth of the Global Brown Messiah in Kollywood Cinema

Recent films from the action-masala genre project India as a global sheriff, replacing a toothless West as an expression of muscular nationalism.


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