The Multiplex in India
A Cultural Economy of Urban Leisure
Routledge – 2010 – 244 pages
During the decade of its existence in India, the multiplex cinema has been very much a sign of the times – both a symptom and a symbol of new social values. Indicative of a consistent push to create a ‘globalised’ consuming middle class and a new urban environment, multiplex theatres have thus become key sites in the long-running struggle over cultural legitimacy and the right to public space in Indian cities.
This book provides the reader with a comprehensive account of the new leisure infrastructure arising at the intersection between contemporary trends in cultural practice and the spatial politics that are reshaping the cities of India. Exploring the significance, and convergence, of economic liberalisation, urban redevelopment and the media explosion in India, the book demonstrates an innovative approach towards the cultural and political economy of leisure in a complex and rapidly-changing society.
Key arguments are supported by up-to-date and substantive field research in several major metros and second tier cities across India. Accordingly, this book employs analytical frameworks from Media and Cultural Studies, and from Urban Geography and Development Studies in a wide-ranging examination of the multiplex phenomenon.
"This is a pioneering attempt to situate the multiplex not merely as a space of film exhibition, but a space that becomes the arbiter of cultural economy and aesthetic evaluations. Locating it within the larger debates on changing Indian cities, the authors establish how the closed dialectical relationship between the space and those who inhabit it becomes a key negotiation between self and the legitimate other… This extraordinary book must be read widely and acknowledged for its courage to argue against the aesthetic subversion of many publics, their cities, and their film-exhibition spaces by the multiplex." - Akshaya Kumar; Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2012
1. Situating the Multiplex as a Research Object 2. From Cinema Hall to Multiplex: A Public History 3. Film Exhibition and the Economic Logic of the Multiplex 4. India Poised: Assessing the Geography of Opportunity 5. Location and Lifestyle: The Infrastructure of Urban Leisure 6. Spatial Politics of the Multiplex: An Environmental Model 7. A ‘Decent Crowd’: The Social Imagination of the Multiplex Public 8. Screening The Multiplex. Conclusion: The Multiplex and the Leisure Economy: Future Implications
Adrian Athique is lecturer in media at the department of Sociology, University of Essex. His research interests include film exhibition in South Asia, unofficial networks of media distribution, new media technologies and the transnational reception of media in Asia – all of these part of a wider interest in cultural sociology, geography and history.
Douglas Hill is a lecturer in Development Studies in the department of Geography at the University of Otago, New Zealand. His research engages with comparative political economy, especially in South Asia.