Celluloid Classicism: Early Tamil Cinema and the Making of Modern Bharatanatyam

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Wesleyan University Press, Sep 10, 2019 - Performing Arts - 250 pages

Celluloid Classicism provides a rich and detailed history of two important modern South Indian cultural forms: Tamil Cinema and Bharatanatyam dance. It addresses representations of dance in the cinema from an interdisciplinary, critical-historical perspective. The intertwined and symbiotic histories of these forms have never received serious scholarly attention. For the most part, historians of South Indian cinema have noted the presence of song and dance sequences in films, but have not historicized them with reference to the simultaneous revival of dance culture among the middle-class in this region. In a parallel manner, historians of dance have excluded deliberations on the influence of cinema in the making of the "classical" forms of modern India. Although the book primarily focuses on the period between the late 1920s and 1950s, it also addresses the persistence of these mid-twentieth century cultural developments into the present. The book rethinks the history of Bharatanatyam in the twentieth century from an interdisciplinary, transmedia standpoint and features 130 archival images.

 

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Contents

On Convergent Histories
1
Politics Participation and Representation
25
2 The Ocular Politics of Making Modern Bharatanāṭyam
73
Mediated Morality Classicism and the State in Modern South India ...
118
4 The Emergence of the Choreographer and a New Envisioning of Dance ...
161
5 Genre Repertoire and Technique in Cinema and on the Urban Stage ...
211
The Enduring Pedagogical Afterlives of Bharatanāṭyams Celluloid Classicism
251
Synopsis of Jalaja 1938
265
Notes
269
Bibliography
291
Index
307
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
324
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About the author (2019)

HARI KRISHNAN is associate professor of dance at Wesleyan University. His research interests span a range of topics, including queer subjectivities in South Asian and global dance performance, colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, and the history of devadasi (courtesan) dance traditions in South India. He is also the artistic director of Toronto-based dance company inDANCE, and as an award winning dance-maker, is commissioned internationally for his bold and transgressive choreography.

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