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

By Sudha Rajagopalan

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India was the largest non-communist state with which the Soviet Union had close cultural and trade relations, and it was a meaningful player in Soviet cultural reality. Moreover, Indian cinema's global significance was already growing at the time that Soviet audiences were exposed to it; by the sixties, it had begun to rival Hollywood in its worldwide sphere of influence. Studying post-Stalinist Soviet society in relation to non-western global media and 'non-aligned' foreign cultural actors who were encouraged to playa role in it provides us a different measure for assessing the 'openness' or 'isolation' of Soviet society.

41 The ways in which avid moviegoers invest in the movies are fundamental to our understanding of audience reception. In his attempt to defme audience productivity and fandom, John Fiske outlined three types of audience productivity. According to him, the fITst type of audience productivity is 'semiotic' productivity, which encompasses the ways in which all audience members read films and try to make sense of their lives. These spectators are productive, but are not necessarily fans. Moviefans demonstrate 'enunciative' and/or 'textual' productivity.

Social and Aesthetic Contexts of the Reception ojSoviet literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), 10-11. 36 Sara Dickey, Cinema and the Urban POOl' in South India (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. 1993), 13-14. 37 len Ang, Watching Dallas: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination (London: Methuen, 1985), 19. 26 technologies executed utopianizing effects, tbrough a ''wishful-landscape'' of sortS. 38 According to Bloch, the utopian feature of classical cinema worked as an 'antidote' to the ideological trappings of classical cinema and ensured this cinema's box-office success.

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