Embodied Engagements: Filmmaking and Viewing Practices and the Habitus of Telugu Cinema

Published By: BioScope | Published Date: July, 01 , 2016

Viewers of South Indian devotional films, female viewers in particular, have been known to offer prayers to the gods on screen and even moved to a state of possession while watching a film. Filmmaking and publicity try to highlight this aspect and explicitly address the spectator as a devotee. How do we understand these intersections between film viewership and religious practice? How do we theorize the figure of the viewer who is both a film viewer and a devotee at the same time? What sort of embodied engagements characterize these overlapping positions? Does affective engagement necessarily preclude critical and rational engagement with the narrative? This article explores these questions through an examination of the practices that surrounded the production and the reception of Telugu devotional films in the period starting roughly from the 1970s to the mid-2000s. I argue that a close attention to the habitus of the film viewer will enable a deeper and finer appreciation of the sensory modes of film appreciation that viewers bring to the cinema. Equal attention to the changing practices and the habitus of filmmaking in South India enables us to grapple with the ways in which a traditional habitus responds and changes with the advent of modern media and modern ways of thinking and being.

Author(s): Uma Bhrugubanda | Posted on: Aug 31, 2017 | Views() | Download (88)

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