Multiplexes, corporatised leisure and the geography of opportunity in India
Douglas HILL and Adrian ATHIQUE
AbstractWhile earlier cinemas were built in response to growing urban populations during the twentieth century, the first wave of multiplexes in India were built in anticipation of future wealth. In recent years, multiplex developments have been targeting various areas identified for growth in the urban redevelopment plans now being adopted across India, anticipating a larger “consuming class” spreading beyond existing pockets of affluence and occupying suburban and satellite townships in what were until recently brown and greenfield sites. Exclusive leisure facilities such as the multiplex illustrate the growing socio-spatial segregation in Indian cities, and suggest the ways the consuming classes are transforming urban space in their own image. As such, while the significance of the multiplex to cultural perspectives on the “New India” is widely noted, they also illustrate much broader issues of the political economy of India that are almost never discussed in the same breath as cinema, including taxation and investment, environmental management and the politics of land zoning and land acquisition.
Keywords: Urban, India, Multiplexes, Middle Classes, Geography, Kolkata
Douglas Hill teaches Development Studies in the Department of Geography, University of Otago, New Zealand. He has published widely on Development issues related to India and elsewhere in Asia. Besides collaborative work with Adrian Athique on multiplexes and urban leisure, which this paper is based on, he has also published on issues related to migrant labour and urban restructuring, India politics, rural development and environmental management. His most recent work is concerned with trans-boundary water resource in South Asia. Prior to his appointment at Otago he was at the University of Wollongong.
Adrian Athique is Chair of the School of Arts, University of Waikato. Previously, he was director of the Media, Culture and Society programme at the University of Essex and, before that, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Critical Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. Adrian has published widely on the Indian media industries and is author of The Multiplex in India: A Cultural Economy of Urban Leisure (with Douglas Hill, 2010, Routledge), Indian Media: Global Approaches (2012, Polity) and Digital Media and Society (2013, Polity).