Contemporary Hindi Film-Going and the Viewing Context in Two Countries



At a commonsense or superficial level, people everywhere have beliefs and opinions about the reasons why others go to the movies and the things they do there. Take, for instance, these statements by middle-aged middle-class men and women I spoke to in Bombay1: ‘Lower-class men whistle at the screen when a heroine walks on, they cause all the disturbance, education will change that’; ‘College students go to the cinema to watch rubbish — they have no taste these days!’; ‘Television is a more comfortable way of watching films than going to the cinema’; ‘No decent woman wants to see nudity in Hindi films’; ‘Lower-class people are only attracted to the cinema halls because of the sex-rape scenes and all the fighting, nowadays films are cleaner so these types don’t attend so much.’ Some of the assumptions made here are so evidently prejudiced along lines of class or gender that we might discount them. Others contain more subtle misapprehensions and may well enter cultural studies literature around Hindi films without much debate.


Young People Audience Member Movie Theatre Film Viewing Love Story 
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© Shakuntala Banaji 2006

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