Jai Santoshi Maa Revisited:

On Seeing a Hindu “Mythological” Film
  • Philip Lutgendorf
Part of the Religion/Culture/Critique book series (RCCR)


Cecil B. DeMille’s cynical adage, “God is box office,” may be applied to Indian popular cinema, the output of the world’s largest film industry, albeit with certain adjustments—one must pluralize and sometimes feminize the subject of the adage. The film genre known as “mythological” was present at the creation of the Indian feature film and has remained a hardy perennial of its vast output, yet it constitutes one of the least-studied aspects of this comparatively understudied cinema, cursorily dismissed (or more often ignored) by scholars and critics.2 Yet DeMille’s words also belie the fact that most mythologicals—like most commercial films of any genre— flop at the box office. The comparatively few that have enjoyed remarkable and sustained acclaim hence merit study both as religious expressions and as successful examples of popular art and entertainment.


Indian Cinema Unconscious Memory Female Viewer Mother Goddess Young Bride 
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Copyright information

© S. Brent Plate 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Lutgendorf

There are no affiliations available

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