Anand Pandian teaches anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. His books include Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India, also published by Duke University Press.
Over the last century, films have changed the way we imagine ourselves and experience the world around us. But what happens to life when the real world begins to look and feel so much like the reel one? And what about those countless craftsmen who make this happen, toiling each day to turn ordinary moments into elements of a cinematic world?
For the last few years, Anand Pandian has trailed some of the most renowned figures in the New Wave of contemporary Tamil cinema, from the studios of Chennai to Switzerland and Kuala Lumpur. His gripping stories reveal how their films come together and sometimes fall apart--the pitched scripts and rickety sets, their stormy fights and digital marvels, the joy of a hit tune and the heartbreak of box office disaster. With an anthropologist's eye and a cinephile's zeal, Pandian vividly conjures the frenzied highs and lows of this extraordinary creative process.
Enthralling, original, and written in a dazzlingly experimental style, Reel World is a moving meditation on the power of film, offering rich insight into a fascinating, frenetic world.