Film and Politics in India Cinematic Charisma as a Gateway to Political Power is written by Dr Dhamu Pongiyannan. He received a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Adelaide in 2013. He has a wide a range of professional experiences in the media industry. His research interests include media sociology and Indigenous studies. He is currently collaborating with Professor Ghilad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages at the University of Adelaide, on Aboriginal Issues.
Dr Pongiyannan spoke to Raysel on the salient findings of the research. He explains that all five of the Chief Ministers since 1967 have been former actors In the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This provocative book debunks the notion of Bollywood as the synecdoche of Indian cinema to explore the hitherto less studied, yet highly influential cinema in South Asia. Developing the concept of the politics of sentiment, the author examines the ways in which actor-politicians constructed their cinematic charisma, projecting themselves as messiahs saving the people from injustices, to create a political appeal to voters. The resilience of cinematic charisma, as Indian society undergoes massive socio-economic changes, provides a compelling study of modern politics, cinema, celebrity and the culture of the subcontinent.