A Taste for Indian films Negotiating cultural boundaries in by Sudha Rajagopalan

By Sudha Rajagopalan

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How did Soviet admirers read Indian melodramas? In examining the ways in which Soviet viewers 'received' Indian melodramas (as evident in viewers' recollections and in letters of the contemporary audience), this work draws on a wealth of research on audience reception. Of central importance is the scholarship that concerns reading strategies, the significance of the emotional pleasures inherent in the act of viewing and the 'productivity' of active moviegoers. Reading strategies and context It is now widely acknowledged in film and cultural studies that the reader of a book or the spectator of a film has agency and is an active, not a passive reader; but this was not always an accepted notion.

49 others listed Italian and French films in their recollections of the sixties repertoire. The questionnaire requested participants to elaborate on the reasons they found movie going appealing in the fifties and sixties (questions 17 and 20). Respondents' answers revealed no overwhelming consensus on the appeal of the cinema since they focused on different aspects of movie going. Movie going as a leisure activity was important for these respondents because the films appealed orland because the cinema met their need for a particular kind of entertainment.

Also of benefit were the informal conversations or exchanges with Vera Gribanova (former employee at the Department ofCinematization and Film Release), Maia Turovskaia (film scholar and critic), Mikhail Brashinsky (film scholar, critic, filmmaker) and Iurii Kolosov (former Soveksportfil'm official; currently director of the international cinema department of the Union of Cinematographers). "S! These interviews and exchanges were at'"1 indispensable asset as they inspired new research questions and underscored the importance of my topic.

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