Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Abstracts of Media Watch January 2013

The Changing World of Satyajit Ray: Reflections on Anthropology and History

University of London, UK

The visionary Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) is India’s most famous director. His visual style fused the aesthetics of European realism with evocative symbolic realism, which was based on classic Indian iconography, the aesthetic and narrative principles of rasa, the energies of shakti and shakta, the principles of dharma, and the practice of darsha dena/ darsha lena, all of which he incorporated in a self-reflective way as the means of observing and recording the human condition in a rapidly changing world. This unique amalgam of self-expression expanded over four decades that cover three
periods of Bengali history, offering a fictional ethnography of a nation in transition from agricultural, feudal societies to a capitalist economy. His films show the emotional impact of the social, economic, and political changes, on the personal lives of his characters. They expand from the Indian declaration of Independence (1947) and the period of industrialization and secularization of the 1950s and 1960s, to the rise of nationalism and Marxism in the 1970s, followed by the rapid transformation of India in the 1980s. Ray’s films reflect upon the changes in the conscious collective of the society and the time they were produced, while offering a historical record of this
transformation of his imagined India, the ‘India’ that I got to know while watching his films; an ‘India’ that I can relate to. The paper highlights an affinity between Ray’s method of film-making with ethnography and amateur anthropology. For this, it returns to the notion of the charismatic auteur as a narrator of his time, working within the liminal space in-between fiction and reality, subjectivity and objectivity, culture and history respectively, in order to reflect upon the complementary relationship between the charismatic auteur and the role of the amateur anthropologist in an ever-changing world.

Mythology, Masculinity and Indian Cinema: Representation of ‘Angry Young Man’ in Popular Hindi Films of 1970s

Baruipur College, University of Calcutta, India

In the 1970s popular Hindi cinema witnessed an emergence of action oriented films with a distinctive “angry young man” protagonist. Tracing the antecedents of Indian masculine subjectivity in colonial discourse, this essay seeks to constitute a framework that identifies vestiges of mythological narratives alongside the politico-historical factors, to explain the formation of the belligerent male in the post-independence popular Hindi films. Reconciling the problematic of overdetermined “Indianness”— conceived as spiritual, calm, and other-worldly, together with its opposite: aggression, anger and this-worldly, that is also constitutive of Indian masculinity— the essay argues, benevolence or militancy cohere in the masculine self and, are activated
according to specific political conditions in history. The angry man figure inscribed in the 1970s popular Hindi cinema is explicable in relation to the 1960s political crises in India that exposed a delegitimized Indian state. This essay focuses on the mythic tale of Parashurâma in the epic Purânas, which is instructive in understanding the rage and rebellion of the figure of the angry man— and his violent yet eventually sacrosanct masculinity— whose dharma (sacred duty) is to reinstate the flawed ideal even if that meant confronting the enemy within or going against one’s own family.

Vision of Tagore through Applicability in the Spectrum of Ray and Ghosh: Reflection of Feminine Approach in two Bengali Movies

Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College
West Bengal State University, India

Rabindranath Tagore had an enormous influence on Satyajit Ray, one of the great directors in India’s long tradition of art house cinema who directed Charulata, and Chokher Bali is made by a director much influenced by Ray in turn, Rituparno Ghosh. The film Charulata affords a dazzling view of Satyajit Ray’s mastery of the medium and gives vital proof of his ability to explore universal themes without compromising
his uniquely Bengali sensibilities. Ray’s script gracefully follows the maturing of Charu’s artistic and feminine identity. The Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh writes and directs the costume melodrama Chokher Bali: A Passion Play which focuses on the situation of women. Set in the early 1900s, the film draws parallels between the British colonization of Bengal and the domestic situation of a Calcutta household. This paper tries to analyze the representation of Indian Bengali female characters, written by Tagore in the early 20th century, through the above mentioned two movies.

Globalization of Bollywood: Gain of Markets or Loss of Audiences?

Women’s University, Mumbai, India

Films are one of the oldest medium of entertainment. Human civilization has witnessed sea change in film creation-production-distribution-consumption processes in last few decades. This paper examines the question whether globalization of Bollywood has taken place in terms of markets as well as audiences, the forms and shapes of the process of globalization and if the process has led to gain of markets and/or loss of
audiences. It uses an Indian cinema-hall-going audience survey, content of Bollywood productions and Box office figures across markets to argue that the process of globalization of Bollywood has neither lead to gain of markets nor loss of audiences. It is an inevitable development creating hypo-real markets whereas audiences connect only to culturally proximate contents. Analysis indicates that while on one hand Bollywood films creating ‘global’ markets, it is losing ‘local’ audiences.

Depiction of Contemporary Media: Thematic Analysis of Pipili Live

Panjab University, India

Pipli Live, a 2010 movie of Aamir Khan Productions evoked exceptional response both from the audience and the critics. The reviewers either wrote eons in its praise or rubbished it as being superficial and lacking depth. The reviews appearing soon after the film’s release, concentrated not only on the quality of the film but also about the politics, the farmers and their problems. The media conveniently ignored the media. They never really spoke in depth about the way contemporary media scenario has been depicted in the film. This paper tries to look at this aspect of the film through the process of thematic analysis. It also brings to light the popular perception about media in the minds of the common man.

Dirty Harry as Pornography: Revealing the Unrevealed

Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi State, USA
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, USA

Dirty Harry was released 40 years ago. We contend that it was a very influential film because it was one of the first mainstream pornography films. Our analysis shows how the producers of Dirty Harry used the signifiers and ideology of a porn film to reveal the dirty side of society. Today, those porn film signifiers have created a porn film ideology, which is a common element on television and in film.

Users’ Gratification, Self-Schema and Facebook Behaviour: A Study of Selective Young Facebook Users

Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad, India
Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad, India
Pondicherry University, India

Major objective of the present study is to look at the relationship of personality traits of the young Facebook users with their behaviour on Facebook and the gratifications they obtain from Facebook usage. We have measured the gratifications with the help of 16 item scale developed on the basis of review of literature. The Facebook behaviour was measured in terms of number of friends and use of privacy settings on Facebook.
The personality trait of users was measured in terms of the self-schema of Separateness-connectedness. A survey questionnaire was administered to the sample of 550 students who came from all over the country to attend the admission process of a well-known communication management school in India. Study concluded that perception of real self always gets reflected in the virtual behaviour of Facebook users. This can be
considered as an extension of real self in their virtual behaviour. However, the comparison of the data between real space self-schema with the Facebook friendship behaviour gives more space to understand weather it is a mere extension or a modification in their real perception about their self.

Developing Media Literacy Practice among Secondary School Students in Malaysia: Case Studies of Video Making on Environmental Issues

Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

In the present new media world, it is essential for the students to develop a sense of media awareness and activism to facilitate social learning in relation to the surrounding world. In building a productive learning culture among the students, media literacy is a necessary intervention in developing critical understandings,
creative abilities, and active participations. Developing media literacy practices among secondary school students on environment is important as the world is becoming less green and the environment is declining. The aim of this study was to examine secondary school students’ media literacy practices in Malaysia using the case of video making on environmental issues with a focus on three core components of media literacy practice namely process, text and inquiry developed by Thoman & Jolls (2004). On the whole, the study has revealed that despite difficulties in understanding the environment and critical media inquiry, students are quick to learn and are able to engage in video making on environment in a productive way. However, the results of the study present a cause for concern, optimism and the need for inculcating active media participation of the students’ voices on the environmental issues facing the country.

Newspaper Supplements of Metropolitan City Publications: A Case Study of two Indian 
News Dailies

Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University, India

This article seeks to explore the narratives on metropolitan cities that appear in the supplements of the English language newspapers of India. The positioning of the city in these newspaper supplements predominantly projects the lifestyles of the rich and the famous, with an overt emphasis on a culture of conspicuous consumption. This is being thrust upon the public day after day. These supplements with their emphasis on gloss, glamour, gossip, and entertainment are predominantly projecting a high-end lifestyle, aiding and abetting the quest for affluence in the minds of the readers. Commercial interests are influencing the way news about the city is selected and written about in these daily supplements, resulting increasingly in the focus on issues considered by some to be of little worth culturally or socially. It is argued that there is a disconnect between the narratives on the city in newspaper supplements and public perceptions of the same.

Embedded Health Messages in Entertainment-Education Television Programs

Amity School of Communication, Lucknow, India
Amity School of Communication, Lucknow, India

The traditional health communication strategy these days are unproductive because of their obvious aim and abundance. Entertainment education (E-E) is the format in which social messages are embedded into entertainment programming with a purpose to influence attitudes and behaviors. Television is a persuasive medium for disseminating information on a plethora of topics on health messages. Stakeholders should take advantage of television’s potential for reaching audiences with health related messages. This paper investigates youth perceptions of an HIV-AIDS message embedded in commercial television programming. The respondents were exposed to the episode of entertainment program ‘Sanjivani’-A medical boon which was aired on Star Plus television channel. These data indicate that youngsters are receptive to HIV-AIDS messages within television episode. Much more research should be done in order to generalize these findings to other audiences, episodes, programs, and health related messages. Health message was identified by majority of viewers and it was not intrusive in enjoyment of the program. The results of this study suggest that audience involvement with E-E programs is multifaceted and important to the outcome of exposure to this programming. Embedded health message entertainment education model is proposed for the cost effective dissemination of health messages.