Popular Cinema and Politics in South India: The Films of MGR and Rajinikanth, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Popular Cinema and Politics in South India

The Films of MGR and Rajinikanth, 1st Edition

By S. Rajanayagam

Routledge India

334 pages

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This work breaks new ground in the understanding of South Indian cinema and politics. Through incisive analysis and original concepts it illustrates the private, public and cinematic personas of MGR and Rajinikanth. It challenges the popular and scholarly myths surrounding them and shows the constant negotiation of their on-screen and off-screen identities. The book revisits the entire political history of post-Independent Tamil Nadu through its cinema,and presents a refreshing psycho-political and cultural map of contemporary South India.

This absorbing volume will be an important read for scholars, teachers and students of film studies, culture and media studies, and politics, especially those interested in South India.


The cinema–politics nexus is a powerful narrative that animates the political and cultural landscape of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. In this thoughtprovoking book, Rajanayagam deconstructs this natural symbiosis . . . to reveal a more complex and rich reading of the transition from the screen to politics.

Selvaraj Velayutham, Macquarie University

Rajanayagam provides a penetrating and unprecedented insight into the political commentary of two of India's leading film stars. A must read for anyone interested in their work, or the connection between film and politics.

Richard C. Reuben, University of Missouri School of Law

Table of Contents

Introduction: Popular as Political. Part 1: Politics of Narrative. 1. Assemblage Structure2.Image-Building DevicesPart 2: Politics of Body 3.Imaging Male Body 4.On Being a Man’s Woman5.Psycho-Cultural Mapping of Body6. Double Bodied Migrantcy 7.Wealth of Poverty 8. Dispensation of Justice Part 3: Politics of Imaging Politics 9.Image and Imagining 10.Politically-Loaded Octa-Motifs 11. Imaging by Tactexting 12. MGR: Politics as Co-text 13. RK: Politics as Context 14. Cinelating Politiking 15. Politics beyond Politics: Trans-Image Voting. Select Bibliography.

About the Author

S. Rajanayagam is Director, People Studies, Chennai; and Associate Professor, Department of Visual Communication, Loyola College, Chennai.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies