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The helpful roar of the cinema crowd

Noisy, chatty Indian cinema audiences extract more from their movies than audiences elsewhere. You might conclude that, if you go to an Indian cinema then read a study called The Active Audience: Spectatorship, Social Relations and the Experience of Cinema in India by Lakshmi Srinivas, published in 2002 in a journal called Media Culture and Society.

Indian cinema scholars focus on the content of the films or the mannerisms of the stars and directors. “The indigenous dialogue between audience and cinema has therefore gone unnoticed”, wrote Srinivas, who was then based at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and is now an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Indian audiences like to see a film many times, a habit one sees elsewhere only for a few films, most notably of the Star Wars, Star Trek and Titanic ilks….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

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