Abstract

Popular south Indian cinema is a highly melodramatic entertainment form, plotted around improbable twists of fate and set in exaggerated locales, filled with songs, dances, and fight scenes. Patronized primarily by the poor, it is typically dismissed by critics, who find its vast popularity either bemusing or indicative of viewers moral and intellectual degradation. Even more confounding for many observers has been cinema's critical role in state and national politics.

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