With numerous incidents of what the RSS offshoot, the Dharm Jagran Samanvay Samiti calls ‘ghar wapsi’, (250 Muslim families being reconverted to Hinduism in Agra in November, 2014, and 40 Mazhabi Sikh families who had embraced Christianity being reconverted to Sikhism in Amritsar in December 2014),
For any observer of politics in South Asia, there is always a question waiting to be answered. What explains the enthusiastic participation of the electorates in the ‘new’ democracies/semi-democracies of South Asia (whenever they get an opportunity!) remains a puzzle for them. Why elections are such grand spectacles bringing a festive spirit among the masses is intriguing for an impressed westerner as she assesses the ground reality.
Freeze Frame is mainly a collection of interviews that noted film critic Anupama Chopra had conducted for the show, ‘Picture This’, on NDTV between 2007 and 2011. Apart from this are interviews published in Vogue, and articles by Chopra contributed to Open Magazine in 2010–2011.
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.