South Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Film Booklets and Consumption: Tracing Film Culture Outside Cinema Halls

Saturday, July 7
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

The history of cinema-going in 1930s India has primarily focused on the experience inside of the cinema halls. The consumption of film culture, however, extends far beyond the walls of any theatre. Yet the sources for studying the consumption of film culture outside of theatres are limited. In this paper, I will examine potential modes of engaging with films. In Marathi cinema film booklets were varied, including some with only songs and others with large excerpts from the film script. Some booklets were decorated with a sketch of a film still, while others included elaborate paintings of film stills and photographs from the film. This paper will explore the role that class was differentiated in film booklets. In some cases, there were multiple film booklets for a single film, which indicates that advertisers were able to draw viewers from various classes through a process of layering audiences. This process of layering brought together middle-class and working-class audiences into the same cultural milieu by having film booklets that catered to multiple demographics. This presentation will focus on Marathi film booklets in the 1930s, a period that was critical in shaping the Indian film industry. Through examining both the visual and textual components of film booklets along with memoirs that document the experience of film culture outside the theater, this paper will examine both the process of layering audiences as well as the consumption of film culture outside of cinema halls. 

Rachel M. Ball-Phillips

Southern Methodist University, United States

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