Rajnikant’s Laptop: Computers and Development in Popular Indian Cinema

Joyojeet Pal


In the past decade, the role of information technology in development has seen an exceptional spike in interest. A positive discourse on the potential of information technology exists not only in the booming metropolises of the developing world, but also in those geographical regions where digital technologies such as computers are mostly absent. Examining the public discourse on IT, we find that mass media may well be important in constructing how people in villages and even cities perceive computers. Taking the specific example of popular cinema in India, we find a strong aspirational discourse in the ways in which computers and technology users are portrayed. These, in turn, relate to how IT and development have been portrayed in cinematic discourse over generations, in cinema from around the world, from even the earliest days of silent film. Reflecting on this, we find that the study of technological artifacts as represented in popular media in the public sphere has been a critical missing piece of work on information technology and development.


IT; Indian cinema; IT and cinema; development

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