Depiction of Naxalism in Telugu Cinema

Depiction of Naxalism in Telugu Cinema

Sai Srinivas Vemulakonda (Osmania University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3511-0.ch019


Naxalism has become a menace, assumed gigantic proportions, and become difficult to contain. Naxalism has donned different roles depending on the geopolitical, social, and economic conditions. India is in a peculiar disposition to address Naxalism, which is rampant, largely fueled externally and internally by way of violence, extortion, sympathisers, and advocacies in the form of urban Naxals. This chapter will discuss how Naxalism is widespread in India and the way it is depicted in Indian movies in general and Telugu movies in particular. It is an attempt to bring to the fore what is compelling for people to resort to Naxalism, delving upon the framework of Bazinian realist, psychoanalytic, and ideological film theories.
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Understanding Indian Cinema

India is one of the largest film industries in the world, releasing over a thousand films each year. Famous Hollywood stars nowadays are showing intent to work in Bollywood due to the amount of craze and adoration received by their Indian counterparts. Many movies were made with socially relevant themes where one can relate to in the present-day circumstances. Cinema reflects society. Different filmmakers present the realistic situations happening around us on the screen from their perspectives showcasing the good, the bad and the ugly of the community and delivering a message through the film. These films typically based on the models of realism, ideological and psychoanalytic approaches resonate with underlying messages. The purpose of these movies is to influence audiences and give out a message relevant to current times, thus bringing about awareness in the viewers to contemporary social issues and ills.

Filmmakers have produced movies and continue to do so in various genres viz mythological, socio-fantasy, romance, freedom struggle, war, patriotism, politics, dacoits, terrorism, spy thrillers, social, drama, insurgencies etc. Although, films have been made with socially relevant issues of their times: films on war viz Haqeeqat, Hum Saya, Saat Hindustani, Prem Pujari, Hindustan Ki Kasam, Aakraman, Vijeta etc.; movies on Dacoit themes were made in the late 1970s, and 1980s viz - Ganga Jamna, Sholay, Dacait, Ganga kiSaugandh, Dharam Kanta, etc.; videos on terrorism have also made viz – Roja, Drohkaal, Dil Se, D Day, Company, Satya, Khadgam, Kurbaan etc.; and on Naxal insurgencies viz – The Naxalites (1980), AndhiGali (1984), Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998), Tango Charlie (2005), Jalsa (2008), Virodhi (2011), Chakravyuh (2012), Buddha in a Traffic Jam (2014) etc. Naxalism continues to be a burning topic even in the millennium, socially responsible & conscious filmmakers latch onto this opportunity to make movies on this subject and many more in vernacular styles. Telugu movies such as Drohi, Erra Sainyam, Dalam, Sindooram, Kubusam, Gamyam, etc., have portrayed Naxalism as its central theme. R. Narayana Murthy’s name needs a noteworthy mention in this genre of Telugu movies.

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