Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, Vol 1, No 2-3 (2005)

Mythologicals and Modernity: Contesting Silent Cinema in South India

Stephen Hughes
Issued Date: 3 Feb 2007


During the 1920s mythological films provided the first Indian cinematic formula for commercial success based on this presumed all-India appeal of Hindu religious stories. This article examines the early history of mythological films as a particularly useful site for addressing questions about the complex and changing relations between media, religion, and politics. In particular, this article concentrates upon a series of significant films and debates contesting the contemporary significance of mythological films in Tamil speaking south India during the 1920s. It argues that mythological cinema was implicated within and refigured a series of ongoing religious, political and cultural debates on modernity during the 1920s.

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DOI: 10.1558/post.v1i2_3.207

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