Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India
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.
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actors aesthetic AIADMK Andhra Pradesh Anna Salai Annadurai audience banner advertisements banner artists banner painting banners and cutouts Bombay Brahmins caste celebrities century chapter charisma Chennai chief minister cinema industry clients color contemporary context crowd darshan deities Delhi depicted distributors Draupadi Dravidian movement EncycloPedia of Indian entertainment cinema entertainment film fan clubs figures film advertisements film producers film star film’s filmmakers financiers Gandhi gaze genre groups handpainted banners hero hero’s heroine Hindi film Hindu iconic identity ideology Indian Cinema Indian film individual interviewed Jayalalitha Karunanidhi Krishna leaders leadership M. G. Ramachandran Madras medium melodrama ment meters MGR’s modern Mohan Arts Mumbai Nadu’s narrative owner party percent photographic Pinney popular portraits posters printing Rajnikanth Ravi religious role screen social South India star’s studio Tamil cinema Tamil film industry Tamil Nadu theater tion tradition urban Varma viewers vinyl banners visual culture