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

Articles By M K Raghavendra

Paan Singh Tomar, the Nation and the Sportsperson

The citizens of any country need various emblems to help imagine themselves as a nation and sport has naturally been an important one. In this essay constructed around the fi lm Paan Singh Tomar the author refl ects upon sports nationalism in India and the State's role in fostering the nation, especially with the State weakening in past two decades. The essay also examines the transformation of Indian cricket and the creation of superstars - India became a cricketing power with the World Cup triumph of 1983 but it was only with the economic liberalisation of the P V Narasimha Rao era that cricket gradually became the nation's obsession.

A Renewal of Faith: Dabangg and Its Public

The enormous success of the fi lm Dabangg is signifi cant not only because the appeal has been more symmetrically distributed across India than other recent Bollywood hits, which have been largely targeted at urban, Anglophone audiences, but also because it brings back earlier motifs in Hindi cinema, reminding us of the India outside the metropolitan cities. Though the fi lm deals with similar issues of crime, corruption in police and politics, and rural poverty as its predecessors, it adopts a different attitude. While acknowledging corruption in the institutions of the State, it still treats it with much greater respect and depicts politics as a space in which hope still exists.

Peepli Live and the Gesture of Concern

Notwithstanding the authentic picture of rural India depicted in Peepli Live, the film is clear that its rural protagonists and its Anglophone audience belong to completely different worlds. Though rich in satirical detail, the film is "humanist" rather than political, in that it is both non-committal and deceptive in its approach to rural indebtedness and in its treatment of the media. Peepli delivers the subliminal message that little can be done about rural indebtedness because its economic/political causes cannot be identified.

India, Higher Education and Bollywood

The Mumbai film factory has transformed itself from an escapist to a more insidious entity, and the State now conspicuously approves of its "messages". The film 3 Idiots proposes that children of household employees can become inventors without being able to imagine the journey from their origins. It thereby imagines higher education without considering the level of primary education made available to children of such a class. This mirrors the disproportionate attention given to higher education by the government, which regards the public increasingly as a clientele, segments of which can be served "viably".

Social Dystopia or Entrepreneurial Fantasy: The Significance of Kaminey

Celebration of social decay started with the film Satya, and Kaminey takes this to a new high altogether. Bringing out the idea of "social Darwinism", where the fittest are defined by their degree of immorality, it depicts agents of the law as being completely detached from their role in its enforcement. What is even more striking is that the viewers are no longer disturbed by this; rather, they seem to take satisfaction in the fantasy of a crumbling social structure.