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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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The Good Wife and the Goddess

The Good Wife and the Goddess

Scripting Roles for the Female Citizen in the Devotional Film

Chapter:
(p.117) 3 The Good Wife and the Goddess
Source:
Deities and Devotees
Author(s):

Uma Maheswari Bhrugubanda

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199487356.003.0004

Chapter 3 examines the question of gender in the cinematic conceptions of the citizen–devotee. The contradictions that traverse the nationalist ideal of femininity manifest themselves in the cinema of the 1950s and 1960s in the form of a conflict between two figures which have been central to the Telugu devotional genre—the sati and sakti—the good wife and the goddess. Hindu mythic characters of ideal wives provided the role models for imagining the ethics of good wifehood. In many of these films the goddess in her fierce and terrifying aspects, whose worship is usually associated with the superstitious lower castes, is dismissed as a sign of primitive nature. In later decades, however, there are perceptible shifts and lower caste village goddesses begin to make an appearance. Drawing on feminist film theory and anthropology of embodiment, I examine the implications of these thematic and generic shifts.

Keywords:   women’s films, goddess films, sati films, feminist film theory, horror cinema, devotional cinema, gender and cinema, embodiment, affect, caste and cinema

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