Seminar held at PU on films and media culture

A two-day seminar on 'Popular Culture, Film and Media: Indian Texts and Contexts' organised by the Department of English and Cultural Studies of Panjab University, commenced on Friday in the Golden Jubilee Hall of the university. The seminar was intended to discuss films and media culture in today's world.

The seminar commenced with the introductory lecture of Prof Pushpinder Syal and laid stress on how every media has its own system of messaging and the importance of form in diverse mediums. The keynote address was delivered by Prof Arjun Appadurai, an anthropologist and scholar of media studies from New York University, USA in which he talked about how repeat value has become a very important measure of value of Indian films. He related this concept of repeat value with the music and songs that are present in films. Repeat value of films is not necessarily related to visiting cinemas. He said that no film is original as there is always a replay of something already familiar, seen and heard.

The second session was chaired by Prof Shelley Walia of the English Department. He spoke about the importance of cultural studies as a practice of intervention and how the intellectual class needs to play a greater role in the social sphere. Prof Anil Zankar, a prolific media professional and two-time national award winner, presented a paper on "Television, Social Media and the New Politics of India" in which he discussed the role of converging technologies in galvanising the youth against the gang rape that took place in Delhi. He stated that the reactions to this incident were similar to that of the assassination of Indira Gandhi, but as against the iconic personality of Indira Gandhi, the rape victim was unknown, unseen and ordinary.

Prof Sherry Sabbarwal of the Sociology Department talked about the complicity of religion and media in the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. In the next session, Indranil Bhattacharya presented a paper on, "Teaching Post-Cinema - Problems and Pedagogy" in which he stated that the arrival of digital technology had given rise to new cinephilia among people.

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