M. K. Raghavendra

(born 24 December 1954, Bengaluru) is an Indian film and literary scholar, theorist, critic and writer who had, till 2023, authored eleven volumes on cinema including two anthologies that he edited, a book on literature and one on politics. He has contributed to numerous newspapers and periodicals in India and outside like Caravan, EPW, Outlook, Deccan Herald, The Hindu, Frontline, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Wire, Firstpost, The Book Review and The Indian Review of Books. His essays on film have been anthologised in books published by OUP, Sage, Bloomsbury, BFI and Routledge among others. He received the Swarna Kamal, the National Award for Best Film Critic in 1997 and a two-year Homi Bhabha Fellowship beginning in 2000. He has lectured in educational institutions like the University of Hyderabad, Viswa-Bharati, JNU, IITs and IIMs and he is a former secretary the Indian chapter of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of film critics with his central office in Munich.

MK Raghavendra got a master’s degree in science in 1975 and worked in the financial sector for over 25 years before becoming a professional film critic. He was one of the founder-editors of Deep Focus, a film quarterly in 1988 and received the Swarna Kamal in 1997 for his work as a film

critic. The citation read: “For his provocative and iconoclastic writing, which inspires debate and discussion, so rare in film criticism today”. Why something is the way it is (i.e.: its socio-political implications) rather its value as cinema is increasingly his emphasis when writing on Indian films, which has gradually led to his deep interest in Indian society, culture and politics.

He was invited by Goethe Institut, Munich, July/ August 2000 to study post-war German Cinema, and his essay 'German Cinema at the Crossroads' was put on the internal web page of Goethe Institut. He was also one of the two India-based film critics invited to participate in Sight and Sound, London, 2002 poll for greatest films of all time. His rise to stature as a scholar-critic was increasingly acknowledged after his Homi Bhabha Fellowship and the publication of his first book through Oxford University Press in 2008: Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema. FIPRESCI included Seduced by the Familiar and 50 Indian Film Classics in its list of the Best Books on Cinema worldwide. When Oxford India decided to add 'Bollywood' to their list of 'Short Introductions' in 2016, he was asked to write the book, indicative of his growing authority in the field. This book and 50 Indian Film Classics have been translated into Russian and published by NLO, Moscow.

He has been on several international film juries and he also curates a film study group in Bengaluru that meets once a week since 2003. He is also the Founder-Editor of Phalanx (www.phalanx.in), an online journal dedicated to debate in the humanities and social sciences (ISSN 2320-7698).