The sun and the moon, the window’s light and rustling leaves, the roots
and bricks on the paths that lead to the cinder- block box in which this
book was mostly written, the silence here and the coffee’s buzz, the bath-
room down the hall and the shower at home, the thoughts that came
and went and sometimes lingered long enough to write them down, the
films themselves, their sound and feeling, the images that stayed and the
others that disappeared only to resurface so unexpectedly, the fuzzy gray
caterpillar that suddenly fell from my desktop monitor one morning, the
heaps of books and papers along which it crept, these keys under my fin-
gers even now and the invisible circuits they press—writing is a solitary
activity, they often say, but I am profoundly grateful for the creative com-
pany of all such ordinary things and more.
The people are more easily identified, though here too their multi-
tudes will elude my grasp. In the midst of the processes and worlds that
these chapters describe are the filmmakers who humored my presence,
questions, and naïve impulses. I am most deeply indebted to the central
figures in this book—Mysskin, G. Dhananjayan, M. Sasikumar, Rajee-
van Nambiar, Selvaraghavan, Nirav Shah, Pushkar and Gayathri, Vishnu
Vardhan, Karthi Sivakumar, Debi Dutta, Yuvan Shankar Raja, Sreekar
Prasad, Sudha K. Prasad, Anthony Gonsalvez, and S. T. Venki—for their
generosity in our countless exchanges, their perceptive reflections on
these chapters, and the goodwill of their associates and assistants. Then
there is that filmmaker and film thinker, almost a Tamilian himself with
a foothold in colonial Ceylon—I am profoundly grateful to Walter Murch
for his depth of insight and scope of imagination.
A number of institutions provided essential support for the research
and writing of this book: the National Science Foundation, the American
Institute of Indian Studies, the Wenner- Gren Foundation for Anthropo-
logical Research, the Hampton Fund of the University of British Colum-
bia, and Johns Hopkins University. Nor could the book have happened
without the goodwill of the production companies that allowed me to
watch their projects unfold: Lone Wolf Productions, Moser Baer Enter-
tainment, Company Productions, Studio Green Productions, Sri Lakshmi
Productions, Kanagarathna Movies, Aum Films, ags Entertainment,
y Not Studios, Ananda Picture Circuit, Ayngaran International, Sath-
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