Taking up the trajectories of three major stars—M. G. Ramachandran, N. T. Rama Rao and Rajkumar, from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, respectively— the book shows how the widespread political mobilisation of star charisma in south India—‘cine-politics’—sheds critical light on the nature of democratic political life in postcolonial India.
Insisting on the centrality of both cinematic and political aspects in interpreting the cine-political event, the author locates the emergence of the phenomenon against the backdrop of demands for the linguistic reorganisation of the states soon after independence. The argument leads us through the various formal and narrative shifts enabling the production of a cinematic form that allowed marginalised populations, deprived of political existence in the newly forged nation, to enact the fantasy of popular sovereignty.
List of Illustrations
Cine-politics: On the Political Significance of Cinema in South India
MGR and the Roots of Cine-politics
NTR: The Accidental Politician?
Rajkumar, the Uncrowned King
The Cine-political Event: Structure and Cause
Fan Bhakti and Subaltern Sovereignty: Enthusiasm in Indian Political Life
Appendix: Jayalalitha: Gender and Cine-politics