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

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Rajini's Sivaji: Screen and Sovereign

In his latest film Sivaji, Rajinikanth is a vigilante extraordinaire who runs a parallel government. In real life, the actor's legions of fans tirelessly forecast him as a future chief minister. But they may have to reconcile with the fact that their sovereign's exploits are restricted to the screen.

The Brahmin and the Citizen

The film Anniyan that was a recent box-office success in the southern states, works within an ideological framework that constructs the brahmin and the non-brahmin as naturally opposed to each other. The film's narrative poses the brahmin as the citizen ideal and the non-brahmin as its lawless all-pervasive "other". However, the film is in effect a statement about actually existing democracies wherein the brahmin and the citizen can exist only as never realisable ideals. The brahmin's individuality is overridden by his caste identity, which thus contradicts his claim to being a citizen. At the same time, for very many citizens, citizenship remains an unrealisable concept, for access to power and justice in a modern state, as the film demonstrates, relies very often on extra-legal means. The film thus raises several binaries that are opposed to each other, for instance those between a citizen and a non-citizen, caste and citizenship, democracy and mass participation, etc, failing in the end to resolve the contradictions it raise

Tamil Nadu: More Stars than Ever

Part of the attraction of the election process in Tamil Nadu is the very large presence of film personalities, many of whom use or are invited to extend their "star power" to favour a particular political cause or party. However, as the recent state elections have shown, charisma by itself does not make a successful politician; the "traditional" requisites of a politician are equally necessary, i e, the ability to organise and reach out to the masses and a way with words.

Work, Caste and Competing Masculinities

Notions and practices of masculinity are often reconfigured in the wake of rapid economic and socio-political transformation. This paper explores this aspect in a south Indian village across two dimensions. Changes in local economy have seen challenges posed to the long dominant position of the upper caste mudaliars based on their control on land, over the dalits. On the other hand, the entry of large numbers of women into the industrial work-force has played its part in modifying the relationship between caste, class and gender.
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