A Transition Illuminated
Ipsita Sahu
UNDERSTANDING INDIA: CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON INDIAN TELEVISION COMMERCIALS by Rohitashya Chattopadhyay Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2015, 192 pp., 695
February 2015, volume 39, No 2

Chattopadhyay’s book provides an interesting research intervention in the field of visual and television study as well as in the general understanding of an image world which was a precursor to the current digital context of consumerism. It illuminates after all the crucial moment of post liberalization, a transition period, during which the chaos of new ideas, subjectivities, and a changing urban materiality was being churned out at the very point of origin in the world of advertisement, and presented back to the viewer for interpretation. Pointing at the sudden significance of commercials post liberalization, with the increase of satellite cable television channels and coming in of multinational brands, in contrast to cinema which served as the earlier popular vehicle of modernity during, before and after Independence, the book deftly demonstrates how commercials in the contemporary time stood at the helm of negotiating this transition in 1990s India from a receding socialism to advanced capitalism.

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