Saturday, 2 February 2013

Special Isuue of Media Watch January 2013 on Indian Cinema


Indian cinema, now synonymous to a unique genre of films, has acquired the academic attention worldwide in the past few decades. When Lumiere Brothers exhibited their silent movie clips in Mumbai Watson’s Hotel in 7 July 7 1896, with newspapers quoting it as the ‘Miracle of the century’, it kindled the imagination of many Indians who are already familiar with the concept of moving images on the screen with the traditional folk plays like shadow or puppet plays. Film industry in India can be hardly put into a general category of Indian film industry as it represent an array of language and style of film making. Even though known as Bollywood for the rest of the world, the 100 years that the industry enviously celebrates is not that of Bollywood, but the Indian film industry in general which took off with the envious venture of Dadasaheb Torne with his first film, Pundalik in 12 May 1912 at the Coronation Cinematograph, Bombay. Though it is still a matter of controversy that whether this film or Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra should be adorned as the first Indian film, the credit always goes to Marathi film industry (in which language the films belong to)whose legacy is shadowed by the thronging Bollywood. 

As with any other film industry, changing societal and political setup always reflected upon Indian cinema perhaps more intensively obvious when compared with its contemporaries. With the introduction of sound, the films slowly shifted from the mythological themes like the noted films of Dadasaheb Phalke, to include more critical social issues like women empowerment, social taboos and humanity best exemplified by films like Achoot Kanya and Amar Jyoti. As the industry moved ahead, discussion about Indian film industry narrowed down to Hindi film industry, which later began to known as Bollywood. 

Bollywood gradually began to look forward to enlarge its audience boundaries that made it global. As such with Dilwale Dulhaniya LeJayenge, Bollywood evolved with a fresh outlook capturing the interest of cross border audiences. Perhaps, this global outlook with its unique mix of song, dance, sentiments, western locations and English dialogues made Bollywood or precisely India films, the major entertainment preference for many.
This special edition of Media Watch gives film academicians an opportunity and platform to explore and comment on the incessant ideas and ideologies displayed by Indian films and its stand as a global entertainer as it celebrates its centenary jubilee. The articles in this issue ranges from the representation of gender and other social groups to the globalization of Indian film industry.
In the introductory paper, The Changing World of Satyajit Ray: Reflections on Anthropology and History, by Dr Michelangelo Paganopoulous, goes into historical golden era of Satyajit Ray, who adorned the Indian film industry with his unique aesthetics of film making.  This essay focuses on the works of this legendary film maker in reflecting upon the complementary relationship between the charismatic auteur and the role of the amateur anthropology in an ever-changing world.
It is worth mentioning that 1970s was the golden period of action-oriented popular Indian Hindi cinema. Saayan Chattopadhyay in his paper, Mythology, Masculinity and Indian Cinema: Representation of “Angry Young Man” has traced the antecedents of Indian masculine subjectivity in colonial discourse, and constituted 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.
Mamutia Chaudhuri’s paper, Vision of Tagore through Applicability in the Spectrum of Ray and  Ghosh: Reflection of Feminine Approach in two Bengali Movies is an analysis of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s stories that specifically outlined the Bengali female characters, identity and situation in movies Charulata and Chokher Bali directed by world famous directors Satyajit Ray and Rituparno Ghosh. 
Mira Desai in her paper, Globalization of Bollywood: Gain of Markets or Loss of Audiences? rejected the general opinion that globalization of Bollywood led to the expansion of market as well as audience. Through audience survey and Box office collection review, she proves that crossover Bollywood business neither created any gain in business nor increased the audience.
Pipli Live, a 2010 movie of Amir Khan Productions evoked exceptional response both from the audience and the critics. The author in this paper, Depiction of Contemporary Media: Thematic Analysis of Pipili Live has explored how media conveniently ignored the media. She also focoused certain aspects of media in light of the popular perception in the minds of the common man.
This issue also includes a special invited paper ‘Darty Harry as Pornography: Revealing the Unrevealed’ by Van Roberts and Mark Goodman. The paper analyzes how the film makers of Darty Harry used the signifiers and ideology of the porn film to reveal the dirty side of society.  
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Though being a special issue on Indian cinema, this special issue is including a few non-film articles from a wide area of media framework due to an increase in queuing of articles for publication. However, these articles deal with some contemporary and critical issues prevailing in the media world.
The impact of the social networking sites has been the most critical issue amidst the harrowing new media revolution. Santhosh and others in Users’ gratification, self-schema and Facebook behaviour: A Study of Selective Young Facebook Users’ look at the behavioural traits of Facebook users and the ways in which this new media platform gratify user’s need and expectation.
Shanthi Balraj and N. V Prasad in Developing Quality Media Literacy Practice among Secondary School Students in Malaysia: Case Studies of Media Making on Environmental Issues aims at a serious issue of media literacy practice among Malaysian students regarding environmental issues. As the world is tormented with climate change and environmental degradation, the authors comment that there is a need for the active participation of students in raising thier concern through various new media platforms, for which they need to understand how to critically assess media content.
Jyoti Raghavan's paper, Narratives on Metropolitan Cities in Newspaper Supplements: Case Study of two leading News Publications of India deals with the news and narratives in newspaper suppliments on major metropolitan cities. Suppliments are more or less a medium to capture the niched advertisements and hence this article tries to show that the issues that these papers deal with a particular city have no relevance for the public.
Health communication is a widely evolving and researched area of communication as it expects the most genuine response from the audience. Romesh Chaturvedi and Shruti Mehrotra in Study on Embedded Health Messages in Entertainment-Education (EE) Based TV Programs have a case studied of a television series ‘Sanjivani’, and found that EE programs were the most cost effective way of health communication.
Besides, this issue also includes a review paper of G. K. Sahu and Sameera Khan Rehmani. Through a case study of No One Killed Jessica, the authors identify the evolving new trend of female representation in Bollywood films as not bearer but as a marker of meaning.