Hitherto, the academic study of Indian cinema has focused primarily on Bollywood, despite the fact that the Tamil film industry, based in southern India, has overtaken Bollywood in terms of annual output. This book examines critically the cultural and cinematic representations in Tamil cinema. It outlines its history and distinctive characteristics, and proceeds to consider a number of important themes such as gender, religion, class, caste, fandom, cinematic genre, the politics of identity and diaspora. Throughout, the book cogently links the analysis to wider social, political and cultural phenomena in Tamil and Indian society. Overall, it is an exciting and original contribution to an under-studied field, also facilitating a fresh consideration of the existing body of scholarship on Indian cinema.
Introduction: The Cultural History and Politics of South Indian Tamil Cinema / Selvaraj Velayutham -- 1. A Good Woman, A Very Good Woman: Tamil Cinema’s Women / C.S. Lakshmi -- 2. The Tamil Film Heroine: From a Passive Subject to a Pleasurable Object / Sathiavathi Chinniah -- 3. Presencing the Amman in Tamil Cinema: Cinema Spectatorship as Sensuous Apprehension / Kalpana Ram -- 4. Politics and the Film in Tamil Nadu: The Stars and the DMK / Robert Hardgrave -- 5. The Nurturing Hero: Changing Images of MGR / Sara Dickey -- 6. Tamil Cinema in the Public Sphere: The Evolving Art of Banner Advertisements in Chennai / Preminda Jacob -- 7. Encountering a New Art: Writers Response to Cinema in Tamil / Nadu Theodore Baskaran -- 8. Cinema in the Countryside: Popular Tamil Film and the Remaking of Rural Life / Anand Pandian -- 9. Imaginary Geographies: The Makings of ‘South’ in Contemporary Tamil Cinema / Rajan Krishnan -- 10. Encounters with ‘India’: (Ethno)-Nationalism in Tamil Cinema / Vijay Devadas and Selvaraj Velayutham -- 11. The Diaspora and the Global Circulation of Tamil Cinema / Selvaraj Velayutham.