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Deities and DevoteesCinema, Religion, and Politics in South India$
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Uma Maheswari Bhrugubanda

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199487356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199487356.001.0001

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From Representing Gods to Representing the Telugu People

From Representing Gods to Representing the Telugu People

N.T. Rama Rao, Mythologicals, and Populism

(p.43) 1 From Representing Gods to Representing the Telugu People
Deities and Devotees

Uma Maheswari Bhrugubanda

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the film and political career of N.T. Rama Rao to discuss the ways in which the mythological film was central to the emergence of the male star into the position of a populist leader, one who appears capable of representing the interests of the Telugu people. Through the mythological and the socio-fantasy genres, NTR emerges both as the embodiment of Telugu heritage as well as the pre-eminent modern citizen–subject. In this chapter, I draw upon Ernesto Laclau’s idea of populist reason as well as recent anthropological work on affect to think through the relation between politics and affect and also to point to the fact that there are spill-overs between the fields of politics, popular entertainment, and religion which need our critical attention.

Keywords:   mythological cinema, populism, N.T. Rama Rao, Telugu Desam Party, socio-fantasy, politics and affect, voice in cinema, vernacular politics

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