Posts Tagged ‘Shiva Rajkumar’

Why modern Kannada films loathe Bangalore City

14 October 2011

The depiction of the “City” in Indian cinema has changed from one of unbridled optimism and opportunity in post-Independent India to the ossification of the great urban dream in the post-liberalised phase.

No City exemplifies this cinematic trend better than Bangalore in which Karnataka’s urbs prima is shown by contemporary Kannada films (like Majestic, Kitty, Jogi and Duniya) in the eyes of Kannada-speaking migrants as a seedy capital of crime, injustice, unemployment, exploitation and worse.

The film scholar M.K. Raghavendra detects at least five reasons for this “unconcealed loathing” of Bangalore by Kannada films, in an article in Caravan magazine:

***

1) Unlike mainstream Hindi cinema which has a large constituency spread across the nation, “Kannada cinema defies the expectation of a pan-Kannada reach: earlier, it restricted its vision to princely Mysore (made up of Bangalore, Mysore and the remainder of southern Karnataka) and it continues to exclude Kannada-speaking regions beyond.”

2) “Mysore, during its rule by the Wodeyar dynasty, was regarded as a ‘nation within a nation’ and, to a large degree, has retained its exclusive culture ever since the time of British India. Vestiges of this sentiment lingered on in Kannada cinema, which was born in 1930s Mysore, even after linguistic reorganisation…

3) “Linguistic reorganisation did not create unity in the way it was anticipated. Bangalore became the capital of Kannada-speaking Karnataka, though it was only a few hours away from Tamil-speaking Tamil Nadu, Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh and Malayalam-speaking Kerala. As the two sections of Bangalore grew into each other, the city came to exhibit an unusual degree of cosmopolitanism.

4) The IT industry and IT-enabled services favoured those with an English-medium education. “These companies started to recruit from all over India and estimates show that presently only 10 percent of the jobs in the new economy are held by Kannada speakers. Since these companies pay their employees substantially higher wages, the spending power of non-Kannada workers—increasingly visible in new consumption trends—has become a talking point in Bengaluru.”

5) “Another reason for the disaffection of Kannada speakers is perhaps the endless expansion of Bengaluru, marked by the entry of private builders. Families that originally owned bungalows, as well as farmers on the periphery, succumbed to the needs of the ever-expanding city. Those now occupying the apartments in the city are new entrants to Bengaluru, with visibly greater purchasing power. Farmers who gave up their land in exchange for the compensation available to them have realised its soaring value too late. Given this troubled history, Bengaluru may be expected to represent more than simply an archetypal ‘city’ for Kannada cinema.”

Photograph: A still from Jogi, starring Shiva Rajkumar, in which a country bumpkin attempts to find his feet in Bangalore.

Read the full article: Meanings of the City

All that glitters is a big gold scam about to burst?

13 October 2011

RAMYA KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: Always never very stable, my blood pressure has been shooting up alarmingly over the last few months, and—surprise, surprise— poor Arnab Goswami is not even the cause of it.

Each morning when I skim the newspapers; each evening when I switch on TV; and all day as I go around town gawking at the hoardings or listening to FM radio, the sight and sound of gold has begun to have a disastrous effect on my BP—and all this before NewsHour starts at 9 pm.

Just what it is, I wonder, that has resulted in this sudden societal craze for the yellow metal that goes beyond Akshaya Trithiya.

Have we, as a society, become the wisest investors on the planet, or have we lost all sense of balance? Are we collectively saving for a rainy day, or have we suddenly become materialistic beyond belief? Are we showing our spending power without compunctions, or are we going down the sad road of Kerala?

(When I can’t quite decide, I also ask myself another question privately: have I, as a woman, become a bit of a freak to so loathe what most other women crave?)

***

Look around you to see what I mean: there you have Kannada filmdom’s ace brothers Shiva Rajkumar and Puneet Rajkumar falling prey to the lure of cheap lucre and endorsing this obnoxious phenomenon in a manner their father would never ever have.

The elder brother asking you on radio to get the gold you have at home tested at the Kerala jewellery store (Kalyan) that has paid him to say so; the younger one exhorting you on television to pledge the gold you have and take a loan from the Kerala gold finance firm (Manappuram) that has paid him to say so.

Look at the newspapers: most of the the large, lavish advertisements in our dailies are those of the Kerala jewellery stores that are all over town or are planning to open shop soon (Malabar and Muthoot, Joyalukkas or Jos Alukkas), rival firms from across the border (revealingly) separated by a mere letter or two.

Look at the Kannada television channels: smaller local firms like Shree Sai Gold Palace use smalltime actresses to tout their wares and announce their schemes and discounts. Some like RR Gold Palace narcissisitically flaunt their owners as models, like a latter-day Lee Iacoca.

Why, one of the gold dons even (K.P. Nanjundi of Lakshmi gold palace) even produces and stars in a Kannada TV serial, and am told hosted a conference of a conferences of the jewel-making community of Vishwakarmas recently with the who’s who of Karnataka politics in attendance.

And then you have sites like churumuri, publishing periodic pictures of the actress Ramya or Ainditra Ray, all decked up in gold and other metals.

I know the theory well enough to understand what’s happening: That India always has been a massive gold consumer if not the biggest; that gold has always been a great form of investment, far safer than real estate or stocks or bank deposits; that even at this value, it is a safe investment, and so on.

I am aware that this is not a phenomenon unique to Karnataka and is probably happening in most of the southern States, if not in the rest of the country. And I am aware that even in the days of yore, homegrown stores like C. Krishniah Chetty & Sons and Jewels de Paragon were the big advertisers.

And, anyway, if people are buying gold with their own money or pledging their own gold, who am I to complain?

Still, looking at the gold rush, looking at the manner in which film stars are being used to woo gullible masses, looking at the number of shops opening their doors, looking at the unrealistic levels gold prices are shooting up to, etc, I get the sneaking feeling that we have well and truly entered a giant bubble which might burst any day.

I won’t use the word “scam” yet—and the newspapers and TV channels and FM stations won’t for obvious reasons too—but my guess is we may not have to wait too long before do so.

***

Photograph: Actress and dancer Lakshmi Gopalaswamy at a press conference on the eve of the 13th Jewels of India show in Bangalore on Wednesday (Karnataka Photo News)

***

Also read: Surely, all that glitters is indeed gold?

Don’t ask us what it is, but it sure costs a bomb

Has Akshaya Thrithiya become a major scam?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,500 other followers