Analysis of the production, content, distribution, and reception of Karunamayudu (1978), an Indian Jesus film
Friesen, Dwight Henry
In this study I analyse the thirty-year journey of Karunamayudu (1978), an Indian Jesus film, from its production to its recent reception. Drawing on a combination of historical and empirical data I explore questions such as: What religious traditions and experiences have informed Karunamayudu's production, content, distribution and reception? How has this film been appropriated by distributors, producers, and viewers? And how does such an understanding of the history of Karunamayudu (1978), arguably India's best-known Jesus film, contribute to our understanding of the tangled relationship between film, religion, and theology? In the first chapter I demonstrate how this study contributes to gaps in the existing scholarship on film, religion, and theology, Jesus in film, and religion in Indian cinema. In the second chapter I provide a rationale for the methodologies I employed. The third and fourth chapters address the production history and context of the film, and the fifth is a review of the film itself. In chapters six and seven I discuss the distribution and reception of the film, respectively, and in the eighth and concluding eighth chapter I reflect on the implications of this account for ongoing scholarship in the field of film, religion, and theology.