Browsing by Author "Raj, Sony Jalarajan"
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ItemAmerican frontier myth and black humour: a study of Marsha Norman’s The Holdup(2017) Jose, Soumya; Raj, Sony JalarajanAmerican frontier myth, which can aptly be termed as a relic of the past is intricately woven into the plot of Marsha Norman’s play, The Holdup. This paper attempts to unravel how the playwright has employed black humour to stage the metamorphosis of a naïve teenager to an adult with broader world view. Besides, the paper examines the technique of meta-narration used by the playwright to narrate the events that had happened offstage. ItemBetween the borders of life and art: Roman Polanski’s transgressive negotiations(2023) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.Roman Polanski’s films are noted for their subversive psychological style that explores themes of sexuality, desire, alienation, and violence. His narratives often reflect a dark sense of humour through which the director perceives the absurdity of the human condition in relation to his own cultural dislocations and artistic eccentricity. This article investigates how different connotations of transgression play a major role in defining Roman Polanski as a filmmaker. It specifically explores how the polysemy of transgression structures Polanski as an artist whose real and cinematic negotiations are often intertwined. Through the constant subversion of moral, cultural, and social discourses, his visual style and narrative ideology maintain a notorious affinity that disturbs the notion of reality and manipulates it with new narrative texts. It is the idea of transgression that changes the way Polanski’s auteur status is perceived, appreciated, and rejected for his actions and creations in the past and their repercussions in the present. Polanski’s works use historical, social, and personal realities to renegotiate his transgressive image in real life by incorporating his contested victim status and persecuted selfhood in narratives that manipulate both the past and present. ItemBodies that need queering: the queer hetero-topias in Malayalam cinema(2023) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.This edited volume offers a comprehensive understanding of the queer space in tandem with the transforming socio-cultural-political relationships in a country that exhibits diversified shades of ideologies and history – that is, India. The featured essays deal with the presence of queerness in visual media, particularly in films and the digital arena, from multilingual and multicultural perspectives, thus creating an exhaustive discourse encompassing argument and analysis. This book aims to depict the plurality and complexity of the Indian scenario, fostering mass acceptance of queerness, a rare scholastic endeavour. ItemBollywood self-fashioning: Indian popular culture and representations of girlhood in 1970s Indian cinema(2023) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.This article investigates how Bollywood cinema represented girlhood experiences in India in the early 1970s. It argues that the films during this time focused on representing girls who displayed a variety of new fashion styles and attitudes, some of which were borrowed from western cultures. This was a sign that there was a new way of representing girls which broke with the submissive, dull and melancholic sari-wearing Indian female stereotype entrapped within domestic settings. The immediate result of this was the emergence of new style leaders and popular icons in Indian popular cinema. This study uses Stephen Greenblatt’s concept of self-fashioning and Guy Mankowski’s idea of self-design to examine how Indian girlhood was renegotiated in the 1970s as an individual-centric idea with more agency and power. Here, self-fashioning refers to the way girls adopt new elements of fashion, styles and attitudes to distinguish their identity from earlier archetypal modes of representation in film and culture. It specifically analyses the emergence of Jaya Bhaduri in Guddi (1971) and Dimple Kapadia in Bobby (1973) as case studies to understand the transformation of girlhood representations in early 1970s Bollywood that opened a new space for girls to redefine their selfhood through the assimilation of consumerism, western culture and fashion styles. ItemColonial rebels in Indian cinema: narratives, ideology and popular culture(2014) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, RohiniHistorical films are a widely discussed genre of visual narration as it poses the challenge of a reliable balance between history, myth and truth. Indian history and independence have been one of those themes that have been adapted into filmic narration, not only as a national oration, but from an international lens. Unlike any other historical moment, Indian Independence is the most celebrated and recurring themes of historical movies and still continuous to be a vibrant subject for Indian film makers. Dealing with the narration of a nation, often these films are looked at with a skeptical attitude, mostly because of its colonizer’s view of the colonized. This article addresses Bhabha’s (1994) interstitial perspective and mimicry of ambivalence positing that these films neither dominate nor propagate certain colonial ideologies, nor does it make the colonizer as a virtuous subject, but rather create an ambivalent identity, which is neither colonizer nor colonized, but a hybrid of it. Apart from some English productions on Indian colonial rule and independence, some Indian films are also taken as a case study to elucidate the concept of hybridity in cultural meaning. When the ‘object’ of history or the colonized reacts with their perception, it creates an ambivalence that is far different from the colonizer’s perception. ItemThe commercial misrepresentation of environmental issues: Comparing environmental media coverage in the first world and developing nations(2011) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, RohiniOver the past three decades the steady encroachment of business interests into the international media environments and the increasing monopolization of media ownership resulted in the escalation of commercial imperatives in media production which directly paved to a shifting representation of environmental issues. This article offers a critical appraisal of the contemporary global commercial media and its coverage of environmental issues. Influenced by the market values and the ongoing monopolization of media ownership, business interests played a key role, and resulted in a drastic change in the representation of environmental issues by the global media. Concomitant with these developments is a shift in emphasis within news and current affairs media which become distorted by the twin pressures of commercialization and market competition, giving way to an emphasis on entertainment values at the expense of reasoned and informed coverage. However, some third world media practitioners offer environmental news coverage that is informed by sustainable forms of developmentalism, while recognizing environmental issues as being both local and global phenomena. Nowadays environmental movements are purposely confined by the media as geographical and cultural identity. It miserably fails to correlate, equate, and investigate it beyond the boundaries of a nation state or personalized perspectives. This research paper analyses the practice of environmental communication by media, where news is highly influenced, and sometimes biased by policy decision, economic and financial causes, making it limited to a particular geographical and cultural realm. This essay addresses environmental communication first as a global practice transformed by commercialism, before examining more salient and creditable forms of environmental journalism utilized in developing nations that are informed by the 'glocal' nature of these issues. This research paper is based on qualitative textual analysis, interpretation and literature review on news published by the main stream media. ItemCovenant cog or functional fourth estate: a survey of Malaysian journalists’ attitudes towards their profession(2012) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, RohiniIn Malaysia, the idealistic notion of the news media as 'watchdog' is largely redundant due to the external and institutional realities associated with its functioning in a heavily regulated, monitored and controlled media system. There has been little analysis of Malaysian journalists' perceptions of their profession. Operating within an authoritarian mediascape, Malaysian journalists have to surrender their journalistic values and principles of practice thereby pervading a culture of self-censorship. This study draws from a survey of Malaysian journalists between January 2010 and January 2011 and reveals about a fourth estate struggling to assert itself within the complex and flawed processes of Malaysian democracy. The study addresses the professional aspirations, restrictions, attitudes, and motivations of Malaysian journalists and utilizes Bourdieu's theories of field and habitus to highlight the relative levels of independence, professionalism experienced by journalists within the structured social spaces of Malaysian newsrooms. ItemCultural monsters in Indian cinema: the politics of adaptation, transformation and disfigurement(2022) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.In India, a popular trope is adapting cultural myths and religious iconographies into visceral images of the monster in literary and visual representations. Cinematic representations of the Indian monster are modelled on existing folklore narratives and religious tales where the idea of the monster emerges from cultural imagination and superstitions of the land. Since it rationalizes several underlying archetypes in which gods are worshipped in their monstrous identities and disposition, the trope of the monster is used in cinema to indicate the transformation from an ordinary human figure to a monstrous human Other. This paper examines cinematic adaptations of monster figures in Malayalam cinema, the South Indian film industry of Kerala. The cultural practice of religious rituals that worship monstrous gods is part of the collective imagination of the land of Kerala through which films represent fearsome images of transformed humans. This article argues that cultural monsters are human subjects that take inspiration from mythical monster stories to perform in a terrifying way. Their monstrous disposition is a persona that is both a powerful revelation of repressed desires and a manifestation of the resistance against certain cultural fears associated with them. The analysis of several Malayalam films, such as Kaliyattam (1997) Manichithrathazhu (1993) and Ananthabhadram (2005), reveals how film performance adapts mythological narrative elements to create new cultural intertexts of human monsters that are psychotically nuanced and cinematically excessive. ItemDissent and displacement of subalternity in Malayalam cinema: a cultural analysis of Papilio Buddha by Jayan K. Cherian(2016) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Gopinath, Swapna; Sreekumar, RohiniThe theme of subalternity with its inherent ramifications is yet to find favour among film makers in India. Progressive film makers of the 1960s attempted to address the theme of subaltern and dared to give the subaltern a voice, but they remained singular attempts. Through a case study on a Malayalam film (a regional film industry from the state of Kerala in India) Papilio Buddha this article tries to analyze the representation of Dalit community in Indian cinema. Though Malayalam film industry has tried to address the concern of Dalits, they have been stereotyped in many ways and reduced to being sidekicks to villains or unskilled labourers having no identity. They remained as instruments to idolize the hero, to act as a contrast to the elite protagonist or as the poor helpless victims who offer the protagonist an opportunity to display his heroism. Papilio Buddha grabbed media attention when it was denied clearance by the censor board as it explores the territory of Dalit consciousness by focusing the lens on the land strike by the Dalit communities and creating a counter narrative to the hitherto idealized images created by the state. ItemDynamics of ‘terror reporting’ Indian media and the changing perspective on terrorism(2014) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, RohiniToday, no country is left untouched by the bitter hands of terrorism, where media plays a very critical role as an informer, forecaster, and at the worst a mediator. India is one of those SAARC countries which are frequently being threatened with terrorist activities. Even though being one of the largest media scenes, Indian media never indulged in going deep into the issues of terrorism. In the competitive run for visual treat, media lose the opportunity to elucidate and investigate the terrorist attacks which is frequenting in the Indian soil. Media being the indispensable part of terrorist and anti-terrorist activities in India, this paper examines what need to be the role, responsibilities, and the nature of treating an issue like terrorist attacks. ItemFrom closeness to openness: repositioning of the Indian kitchen and restructuring of the gender system(2022) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.The concept of the kitchen is an integral part of household interiors that defines a space of interactivity essential to the organic existence of individuals in society. The traditional Indian kitchen is a closed space separated from the living room and other open spaces where members interact regularly. It is conventionally established as a gendered space restricted for women members to partake in activities of food production, serving, and cleaning. The modern idea of the kitchen, especially seen in Western architecture, is articulated through the notion of ‘openness’ which strictly contradicts the ‘closeness’ of the Indian kitchen. This paper examines how the transformation from an Indian spice kitchen (separated structuring of the kitchen in a way to contain the smell of spices from spreading to other parts of the house) to a modern open kitchen redefines the existing gender coordinates of the land. It uses two critically acclaimed Malayalam films—from the south Indian cinema of Kerala— namely Salt N’ Pepper (2011) and The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) to analyze and differentiate the visual representations of the open and closed kitchens in India. It argues that a restructured modern kitchen challenges the traditional gendered kitchen and nourishes a participatory culture that demands open interaction from all participants. ItemFrom dissemination to response: in search of new strategies for broadcast media in terms of cyclone warnings for Bangladesh(2010) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Ullah, Mohammad Sahid; Akhter, RawshonMedia and communications technologies play a significant role in disaster management procedures in regards to the mobilization of resources in emergency situations. While the dissemination of warning messages relayed via broadcast technologies have had some positive outcomes in terms of reducing casualties in emergency situations in Bangladesh, there remain some specific problems in regards to the manner in which these messages are distributed within this developing nation. These problems are addressed within this paper. Examining the existing cyclonic warning dissemination system and the manner in which warning information is distributed and received, this study addresses citizen responses to mediated warning messages in the vulnerable coastal regions of Bangladesh. The results indicate that attitudes towards mediated warnings held by Bangladeshi citizens in these environs differ depending upon their access to media, type of dwelling and differing levels of literacy. This study also provides recommendations for media professionals and policymakers in regards to disseminating more effective warnings to the inhabitants of Bangladesh's cyclone-prone coastal belt. ItemGender construct as a narrative and text: the female protagonist in new-generation Malayalam cinema(2015) Gopinath, Swapna; Raj, Sony JalarajanThe film industry in Kerala (popularly known as ‘Mollywood’ in the mediasphere) is an obvious example of the changing face of the regional film industries in India in accordance with the varying socio-cultural values and demands of the audience. These films claim a multifaceted ‘newness’ in their narration, ranging from the themes explored to their techniques of production and narration. This article seeks to analyze whether this ‘newness’ is contemplated in the conceptualization of female characters within films. We conclude that although women are conceptualized as part of a globalized culture in which ‘she’ has an identity, they are nevertheless subject to the familiar gender hierarchy and marginalized identity. ItemGenerational dissension in August Wilson’s Fences(2014) Jose, Soumya; Raj, Sony JalarajanAugust Wilson, the celebrated author of the Pittsburgh Cycle, has always opposed the assimilation of African Americans into the mainstream American society. Wilson has used his plays as a medium to uphold the African American culture. This article explores his play, Fences, and it unwinds how he employs the father-son conflicts as a strategy to prevent the assimilation of a young black man into the mainstream American society. The play revolves around a father-son conflict which springs from the son’s desire to play football in whites’ team. David Marriot in the book, On Black Men posits on the problematic relationship between fathers and their sons: “[. . .] the mark that the black father leaves,” is “ a mark that is both ineffaceable and irremediable." Marriot observes further: “Typed, in the wider culture as the cause of, and cure for, black men’s ‘failure,’ his father’s apparently lost and untellable, life is the story that the son must find and narrate if he is to begin to understand how, and why, blackness has come to represent an inheritable fault." ItemGreta Thunberg in Canada: climate activism, mediated imagery, and public sphere(2022) Thomas, Ronie; Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Suresh, Adith K.The significance of the ongoing climate debates is characterized by discursive media representations that disseminate mediated constructs of images and ideas to the public sphere. By analysing the recent accounts of Greta Thunberg’s visit to Edmonton, Alberta, this research paper examines the effect of media representations in forming public opinion. It argues that celebrating the emergence of a new Thunberg-era climate discourse through mediated images has reinforced political, cultural, and economic scepticisms that led to repercussions in the form of agitations in the democratic process. Exposure to discourses in the form of activism, counter-activism, and propaganda has had an impact on the oil-based economy of Canada, especially in the results of the 2019 federal election. Through the focused visualization of mediated imagery, these discourses can play an agenda-setting role in shaping public opinion, even in the presence of a refeudalized public sphere. ItemJournalistic independence: how social media are reshaping power structures in news broadcasting(2015) Kohle, Fritz; Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Mazo, LucilleContent provided via social media from various conflict hotspots raises the question as to how social media are changing news broadcasting. Social media are and still continue playing a major role in the on-going Arab Spring, Occupy, and Wall Street movements. Developments such as this highlight the important role of social media regarding the opinion forming process in the public domain during times of war and social unrest. The conflict in Ukraine serves as an example: news broadcasters have been reproached of one sided reporting, i.e. the role of neo-fascists in the new Ukrainian government has been understated and Russia stands accused to have sent troops into Ukraine. Social media are increasingly used by news organisations and citizens alike to report from the frontlines. Can social media deliver on its promises of more democracy and transparency in news broadcasting? At the same time it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between real user-generated content and content provided by questionable sources delivering social media propaganda. An example is the portrayal of Arseni Jakzenjuk, former and unelected president of Ukraine: manipulated pictures of him have been circulating online creating the impression that he was greeting visitors to a rally with a Nazi saluteii. The civil conflict in Ukraine demonstrates how social media challenge the domination of traditional mass broadcast media. User generated content and the unique characteristics of social media are challenging the traditional relations between media and political authorities. Responding to these new developments, political authorities are changing their audience outreach strategies. This paper examines how users are reading mainstream news and are participating in the production of information on social media. Are social media providing a real alternative to mainstream news? Can citizens make better choices based on social media information? How much misinformation is saturating social media to confuse the public domain? ItemJourney of a woman through home, hearth and heart: a reading of Jaishree Misra’s ancient promises(2012) Jose, Soumya; Raj, Sony JalarajanThis paper endeavours to render a feminist reading to Ancient Promises. The article analyses how Janaki, a woman moulded according to the dictates of Manusmrithi emerges as a new empowered woman who controls her destiny. Janu disrupts the mould in which she has been created by the patriarchal society. The novel ends optimistically and the author's note in fact reveals the ultimate gift that Janu receives at the end as an ancient promise fulfilled. ItemMusic, song lyrics, philosophy and human values: exploring poet Kannadasan's contributions to the Tamil community worldwide(2012) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Muniapan, BalakrishnanFor thousands of years music and songs have played an important role in the Tamil community. Tamil song lyrics are mostly written for cinemas, and research reveals that Tamil cinemas in the twentieth century have formed a major part of mass communication and have also served as mass-entertainment to people mainly due to the stories and song lyrics. Among the great lyric writers of Tamil songs from 1944 to 1981 was the legendary Poet Kannadasan (1927 - 1981) who was also known as Kavi Arasu or king of poets. However Poet Kannadasan's contributions are yet to be highlighted sufficiently in media literatures. Therefore the objective of this paper is to explore Poet Kannadasan's contribution in teaching philosophy and human values through his songs which are relevant to the Tamil community even today. This paper is considered to be the first to explore Poet Kannadasan's philosophy and human values in an academic journal of the English language although several articles have been written in the Tamil language. In presenting this paper, hermeneutics (a qualitative research methodology) which includes content (song) analysis is used by the authors. The authors hope that this paper will provide the framework for studying Poet Kannadasan's song lyrics in many areas apart from philosophy and human values. This paper is expected to contribute and enrich the English language literatures on Poet Kannadasan's contributions in the Indian context. ItemNews as compromise: the Indian news media and the evolving trend of paid news(2014) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, Rohini; Kalorth, NithinIndia’s media market has emerged in recent years as one of the most competitive and profitable in the world global scenario. However despite the nation’s status as the world’s largest democracy, India’s news media have been criticized for their emphasis on entertainment values at the expense of critical, pro-social, and investigative forms of journalism. A related development has been the increasing influence of political parties in the news content development, a practice which is named ‘paid news’, an Indian version of ‘manufacturing of consent’. This controversy came to the fore during the (April-May, 2009) Indian parliamentary elections when numerous overtly favorable articles and news reports emerged in the Indian media that contained no disclosure of the monetary transactions that facilitated their publication/broadcast. This development poses serious threats to the continued advancement of a vibrant Indian mediated public sphere, and instead represents a deliberate attempt to manufacture popular consensus. This article details these unethical news practices in Indian news media and argues that this form of contemporary Indian journalism is a violation of the core values of the profession and their relation to the democratic process. This research paper is a qualitative work relying mainly on textual and content analysis, which include analysis of interviews, newspaper articles and paid news contents. ItemOn the margins of heterosexuality! Representation of queerness in Malayalam cinema(2018) Raj, Sony Jalarajan; Sreekumar, Rohini; Gopinath, SwapnaThe conservative social milieu and the official censorship rules prevents any open or transparent form of creative discourses on the realities of queer population in Kerala, a State having the highest literacy rate in India. This article is an attempt to chronologically map the repressed demography of queer within the history of Malayalam cinema. Right from the early days, there were only meagre attempts in the Malayalam cinema to represent, portray and communicate the LGBTQ population that silently exist within the literate Kerala society. This article argues that the Malayalam cinema has a long traditional and discursive practice of normalising heterosexual practices through cinematic imageries. The article illustrates that Malayalam cinema carefully places the queer subtext in the margins of heterosexuality in line with the conservative social order and norms in the State.