chapter  20
14 Pages

Active audiences and the experience of cinema

WithLakshmi Srinivas

Anyone who has watched popular films in cinema halls in India will have encountered to varying degrees the participatory and interactive audience. For those not familiar with these settings, the atmosphere in the theater can resemble that at a rock concert or a sports match. People cheer their favorite stars and whistle appreciatively of the heroine. The hero is greeted with yells and thunderous applause. Audiences ‘talk back’ to the screen, sing along with the soundtrack and even dance in the theater. They may throw coins at the screen in appreciation. Firecrackers are set off, sometimes inside the theater! In short, audiences provide the tamasha (fun, excitement and entertainment) that accompanies the cinema experience.