Version 1 (modified by salomex, 12 years ago) (diff)



Genre of film biographicals of the medieval Saint-poets. This Bhakti tradition emerged from the proliferation of regional and lower-caste cultures after the 7th C. when the Pauranic texts and portions of the Mahabharata were rendered in the Prakrit or demotic languages spoken by the lowest castes of Shudra or Atishudra. Starting with Shankara (8th C.) and Ramanuja (12th C.), the movement expanded into several sects: e.g. the Jaina, the Shaiva, the Natha, the Lingayata, the Mahanubhav. It was strongest in the South and the West, creating the first major literatures in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. Directly addressing the peasantry and the artisans, the Bhakti tradition was revived in several currents of 19th C. nationalist and egalitarian reformism, e.g. by Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901) who opposed a Vedantic revivalism by modelling his own sermons on the verses of the 17th C. Marathi poet, Sant Tukaram. In Telugu and Kannada the movement is traced to the spread of the Veerasaiva cult, pioneered by Mallikarjuna Pandit and Basvanna respectively, leading to the earliest reform movements which, as e.g. with the educational activities of the Lingayat Viratka monks in 19th C. Karnataka, fed into the social reform movement under British occupation (see Social) Used for the first time to create a political language in the banned film Bhakta Vidur (1921), a tradition continued by e.g. Prabhat's famous Saint films: Dharmatma 0935) drew parallels between Gandhi and the 16th C. poet Eknath; Sant Dnyaneshwar (1940) made a call for peace in the context of WW2. The theatrical version of the genre emphasised miracle sequences in narratives culminating in intense devotional emotions. This approach found a natural extension into filmic spectacle beyond the means of the conventional mythological, best exemplified by S.S. Vasan's big budgetAvvaiY.var 0953). In Telugu the form is uniquely associated with the star Chittor V, Nagaiah (Bhakta Potana, 1942; Tbyagayya, 1946; Yogi Vemana, 1947 et al.). Other classic Saint films are Chandidas (Bengali, l934),Sant Tukaram (Marathi, 1936), Bhakta Cheta (Tamil, 1940), Bhakta Kabir(Hindi, 1942),Meera (Hindi/rami! 1945), Bhakta Gora Kumbbara (Kannada, 1949), etc. The last major film in the genre is the Punjabi classic Nanak Naamjahaz Hai 0969) although this is not strictly a biographical.