The pleasure of the ‘pulp’ is not for the faint hearted. Hindi Pulp Fiction, noir as can be. And yet, not quite as much to need deliberate effort of indulgence, is a multiverse where crime, supernatural phenomena, and sexual innuendo collide in the most far out ways. And when we speak of Hindi Pulp Fiction, the conversation simply cannot abandon Tamil Pulp Fiction. Tamil Pulp Fiction is in it’s own way, an epitome of all Pulp Fiction, full of liaisons with ‘le sexy times,’ mythological references, and high end technology.
Tamil Pulp Fiction draws its readers in with it’s juicy covers with suggestive illustrations of voluptuous and seductive women clad in see through sarees and heroic hyper-macho men. One could deem this as vulgarity but Tamil literature has always held a position of cultural ascendancy. Which foretells a lot about how Tamil Pulp writers make things racy, yes, but never explicit or vulgar. And although, the ‘cult’ that follows Tamil Pulp Fiction today is diverse and much more widespread, back when this form of literature was introduced, you could find many housewives flipping through its pages. Longingly reading about scandalous women smoking, drinking and casually sliding up palloos slipping past their full cleavages. In the hopes to maybe escape their mundane lives.
And of course apart from the Indian housewife, kids of the 70’s and 80s, too, were devoted readers of Tamil Pulp. Perhaps the last generation that truly knew the value of reading for pleasure. I am talking of days when Indian kids were colour blocking and wearing scrunchies like religion! Back in the days of kids being good while quietly reading comic books, crime stories, and playing on their game boys during train rides and sincerely trying not to be pains in their parents’ necks. These were the set of children that represented having the patience to read for entertainment. For them, diving into a Sujatha, or Rajesh Kumar was like living out the firecracker storylines as the protagonists themselves!
Currently, The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, rules most conversations surrounding Tamil Pulp. Infact, it is because of these three volumes that Tamil Pulp Fiction has been realised and re-established with more clarity today. They withhold thrilling and explosive stories by only the most revered writers; Pattukottai Prabhakar, Sujatha, Rajesh Kumar and Suba, the classic duo- Suresh and Balakrishnan. It’s difficult to imagine the evolution of Indian literature without the participation of Tamil Pulp Fiction. Without it’s exciting plunge into fictional crime, sex and mystery- while still holding a preservative grip on the raw essence of that time period and culture- a piece of the Indian Literature’s identity would be missing.
This article was written by Harshita Singh. You can find her on Instagram here.
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