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Lakshmi Srinivas
University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA 02125-3300)
Indian Cinema and the Active Audience: An Ethnographic Study

Audiences of popular cinema in India are active and participatory, even boisterous. In movie theaters people frequently cheer and whistle. Raucous viewers seated in the cheap seats in front of the screen shout out to characters, repeat dialogue, throw coins at the screen to signal appreciation and rip up the upholstery with razor blades and knives to voice protest. Cinema in India is primarily a social experience and audience members carry on conversations with their viewing companions throughout the film. What can active and interactive audiences in a non-western setting which rivals Hollywood in terms of both numbers of films produced and consumed tell us about cinema and its experience? Drawing on ethnographic research in South India involving participant observation at sites where cinema is produced and received this book project offers an understanding of cinema that incorporates actual audiences and lived experience of film and that has broader cross-cultural relevance.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$37,800 (approved)
$37,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 9/30/2012