Classic Realism In Film Culture

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In South Indian film culture, there is a widespread practice of idolizing movie stars, the best example being Rajnikanth. Fans go out of their way to catch repeat shows of their favorite films. Another such practice is the form of extreme devotion which is invoked in fans at times either in the form of bhakti or by appealing to some other sentiment in them. This has often been criticized and scrutinized by film critics who claim that this is a method used by film-makers to make their films big hits in the box office as the ‘magic hit formula’ does not always work.

In western movies, classic realism in films appealed to the disembodied spectator quite contrary to the Bollywood and South Indian films which seek to embody the spectator. Through Classic realism the absence of the spectator as a fiction has to be maintained. In most Indian movies the makers try to give embodiment to the spectator. There are a few ways of implanting this philosophy into the fans, the most widely used is the practice of invoking a sense of devotion in them (especially in the case of Tamil or Telegu Cinema). To site a few examples- Mahasati Anasuya and Ammoru would be two such films which tries to address the spectator as a devotee.

One such method which is known to us is the setting up of make-shift shrines or praying spaces near movie halls which are screening mythological or devotional movies. This is an invitation for film-goers to visit these shrines and offer prayers to their devotees

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