Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cut-Outs, Caste And Cine Stars

Cut-Outs, Caste and Cine Stars
Cut-Outs, Caste And Cine Stars by Vaasanthi, Penguin Group Publications, INR 425

This book came out just before the May 2006 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu (TN) and tracks 40+ years of Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu. Vasanthi has done a good job of tracing the influence of film industry from the days of Annadurai to Jayalalithaa. She vividly points out the contrast between Dravidian political rhetoric and practice. While the Dravidian parties rile on Hindu religious practices, they actually follow that and revere their leaders as demi-gods complete with status, garlands, Arathis, coconut offering etc.,

However, this book isn't a easy read. I felt the narration is dis-jointed on many places and jumps around time-line which made it a difficult read. I have been following the TN political scene for the last 20+ years, even then I found it hard to following the narration. If Vaasanthi had followed the 'chronicle' approach to story telling, it would have made a much better read.

Bottomline
This is a decent book for anyone who is interested in Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu and its unique relationship with the Tamil film industry.