South Asia Seminar Series: IMAGE/TEXT/SOUND
Thu, September 25, 2008 • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM • Meyerson Conference Room, WCH 4.118
The SAI seminar series features lectures by distinguished South Asian specialists from UT and abroad. Regular seminars occur on Thursdays at 3:30 pm, preceded by a reception at 3:00 pm, in the Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118).Cinema is one of the most influential cultural technologies of displacement in the contemporary world, readily transporting its viewers to imagined places other than their own. This paper explores the affective resonances of such imaginative displacement in the Tamil commercial film industry of south India. Insistent projections of Tamil cultural identity as an artifact of regional custom and local environments in this film industry have given way in recent years to a globalization of filmic production and shooting locale. This paper relies upon ethnographic fieldwork conducted on location with three different Tamil film crews working to shoot both song and scene sequences in Malaysia, Singapore, and Dubai. I focus on the cinematic techniques through which directors, cinematographers, and art, music, and dance directors work to produce moving and powerful frames and shots. Of particular concern is their manipulation of the tangible qualities of filmic landscape, setting, or mise-en-scene as a means of intensifying feeling among their projected audiences. Focusing on the production and circulation of feelings such as anticipation, joy, and desire through material cinematic practices, the paper suggests that Indian filmmakers now traverse the globe in pursuit of purified environments for affective expression.