ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Nations of ‘Regional’ Cinemas

Beyond Bollywood: The Cinemas of South India edited by M K Raghavendra, New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2017; pp xii + 339, ₹ 499.

 

Beyond Bollywood: The Cinemas of South India is an aggregation of four surveys, of one South Indian film industry each. Given that the contributors have already published their detailed accounts elsewhere, this volume is best considered as an accessible summary for a wider readership. In the last 15 years or so, numerous studies have emerged which claim to go past the Bollywood horizon of Hindi cinema. This book is situated partly in that tradition, and partly in another: consolidating an account of the cinemas of South India. Unfortunately, though, there is very little on offer in terms of a conceptualisation of South Indian cinemas as separate from Bollywood, or even Hindi cinema.

Histories of national or so-called regional cinemas from across the world are often delimited and shaped by the construction of questionable but self-explanatory units. Most of the emerging work on film industries across India also suffers from such a classification in which the political and cultural unit of the “region” is uncritically presumed to be autonomous, allowing the respective authors to then go on to establish their respective internal differentials. Here too, instead of offering us a new understanding of the cinemas of South India, we are served a convenient breakdown of “beyond Bollywood” into Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam film industries. The four short surveys are then afforded their own autonomous histories, without systematically analysing the very substantial spillovers and overlaps of themes, forms, production practices, and even personnel.

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Updated On : 5th Jul, 2019
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