Are Maharashtrian and Marathi the same

Screen reflections. Creation of cultural identity through the Marathi cinema

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 “Exploringsilver screen reflections” field research
2.1 Research location
2.1.1 The StadtPunas as a research context Importance of the city of Pune for the Marathi film industry Cinemas in Pune - single screen and multiplex
2.1.2 The single-screen theater Prabhät as a research location
2.1.3 Dawn and afterglow - The day in Prabha
2.2 Methods
2.2.1 Participant observation and interviews
2.2.2 Film and Photography in a Visual Research Context
2.2.3 Critical method reflection

3 By film-seeers and filmmakers - the meaning and perception of Marathi cinema
3.1 Importance of Prabhät for cinema goers and filmmakers
3.1.1 Moviegoers
3.1.2 Filmmakers
3.2 Importance of Marathi Cinema for Moviegoers and Filmmakers
3.2.1 Filmmakers
3.2.2 Moviegoers
3.3 "Little newwave" transformation perceptions
3.4 "Screen play" - Dense description of the visit to the cinema

4 "Intermission" - summary and transition

5 room
5.1 Space and body
5.2 Receive and participate cinema as a living space
5.3 "Picture P (a) lace Prabhät" - Busy room
5.3.1 See-act and form
5.3.2 Walking room boundaries and thresholds
5.3.3 The ritual place of Prabha
5.4 Creation of identity through the Prabhät

6 medium
6.1 Regional and national film in India
6.2 Maharashtra regional film
6.2.1 "Cinema was never silent" - history of Marathi cinema
6.2.2 Recent developments
6.2.3 "Valu - The Wild Bull" - film example Interpretations by the moviegoers Intention of the director The ethnological view - film analysis and interpretation
6.3 Creation of Identity through Marathi Films

7 language
Historical excursion: Maharashtra
7.1 Objectification of language
7.2 Language in Maharashtra
7.3 Talking about language-Marathi in the research context of Punes
7.4 "Marathi is another mother tongue" - creation of identity through language

8 screen reflections

9 final considerations
9.1 Conclusion
9.2 Outlook

10 Glossary

11 List of sources

12 Appendix
Appendix I: Figures
I.1 floor plan
I.2 Photo documentation
I.3 Still images from "Valu - The Wild Bull"


Figure not included in this excerpt

List of figures

Figure 1: Floor plan of the Prabhät Theater

Figure 2: Street view of the Prabhät Theater

Figure 3: Prabhät's forecourt looking towards the ticket office

Figure 4: Cinema goers wait for the ticket booth to open

Figure 5: Mr. Ranade checks the tickets between the forecourt and the inner courtyard

Figure 6: Gate between the forecourt and the inner courtyard of the Prabhät

Figure 7: Moviegoers wait in the courtyard to be admitted to the cinema

Figure 8: The seating category Balcony during the break

Figure 9: The Dress Circle seating category between two performances

Figure 10: View from the staircase of the Prabhät

Figure 11: »A look« into the open stairways of the Prabhät

Figure 12: Morning cleaning work in the Prabhät ', in the background are the Office of the Manager and the PrabhätCanteen

Figure 13: Announcement of the film "Bot Lavin Tithe Gudgulya" (1978) by director Dada Khanderao Kondke

Figure 14: Break activities in the Prabhät courtyard

Figure 15: Departing and arriving cinema-goers

Figure 16: The City Pride multiplex northwest of downtown Pune

Figure 17: The Alpnä single-screen theater in downtown Pune

Figure 18: The director of "Valu" Umesh Kulkarni at one of the locations

Figure 19: Director Umesh Kulkarni and actor Girish Kulkarni with crew members at the location of »Valu«

Figure 20: Preparations for the screening of »Valu« as a thank you for the residents of Pimpli

Figure 21: Valu, the wild bull

Figure 22: The symbols of the cow and the wind turbine are established

Figure 23: Tethered cows and oxen appear repeatedly in the film

Figure 24: The landscape of Maharashtra is shown dominated by wind turbines in the film

Figure 25: Shivaji reports on his experience with Valu

Figure 26: Close-up of Valu's head

Figure 27: Gaddamvar in eye contact with the stone nandT

Figure 28: Gaddamvar is greeted by the sarpañc

Figure 29: Gaddamvar initiates the joint mission by smashing a coconut

Figure 30: In the house of the Brahmin Bhutji

Figure 31: Valu suddenly stands in front of the po / ä procession

Figure 32: The frightened village community faces Valu

Figure 33: The women of Kusavade go about their work together

Figure 34: Valu is caught, the mission is accomplished

Figure 35: Gaddamvar is honored with a red turban (pheta)

Figure 36: Valu is again subject to the “shackles of social conventions”

Figure 37: "Here comesthenewbull"

Text conventions

All words with diacritical marks appearing in the text are Marathi designations. For their transcription, I use phonetic principles as a guide. If Marathi words appear at the beginning of a sentence, they are capitalized. Marathi words that are part of a quotation are written according to the quoted text. Proper names such as Prabhät and god names appear in capital letters and italics and are provided with diacritics. Designations of federal states, locations, film titles as well as languages ​​and personal names are treated as German proper names and no diacritics are added

Vowels with a dash are spoken long (this applies to the letters "e" and "o" without exception). "V" is articulated like the German "w". »S« corresponds to the sharply spoken German (dental) »s«. An "s" with diacritical marks (s, s) is articulated like "sch" in German (e.g. svades as swadesch). Mätr bhäsä is pronounced matru bhascha. "Y" is read like "j" in German; "J" in Marathi is articulated like "dsch" in German. »C« roughly corresponds to the articulation of »tsch« (e.g. citrapat as in Tschitrapat). With regard to the diacritics at "t", "d" and "n" with a dot below (t, d, n) it should be noted that these are spoken retroflex, i.e. with the tip of the tongue touching the palate. Point and tilde above an "n" and a point below an "m" (ň, ň, m) act as nasalization on the following consonants (e.g. in German Lunge). An "h" strengthens the aspiration of the preceding consonant.

The transcribed interviews with filmmakers and those involved can be found in the appendix. Since only very short quotes are taken from interviews with moviegoers, I refrain from attaching these as well. The exception is the group discussion with moviegoers, as numerous longer quotations were taken from this. For the sake of simplicity, I only use the masculine form of the nouns, without signaling a devaluation of the feminine. Masculine nouns are thus to be read as a neutral form in which both the feminine and the masculine meaning are integrated. The list of sources inherits all sources, i.e. including films. Citations from films are treated as well as citations from written publications. The name of the director is underlined in order to ensure differentiation; instead of the page number there is the number of minutes.

1 Introduction

"And since you know you cannot see yourself

so well as by reflection, I, your glass,

will modestly discover to yourself

that of yourself which you get know not of. "

(William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar", 1st act, 2nd scene)

Indian cinema has meanwhile been covered with numerous superlatives and has become known far beyond the subcontinent. While »Western« reporting tends to associate Indian cinema with Hindi-language Bollywood productions, mentioning regional cinema traditions in India is mostly neglected. In the academic examination of Indian cinema, too, with relatively few exceptions, the examination of different aspects of Bollywood cinema predominates. The fact that cinema traditions also exist in other Indian states has so far mostly gone unnoticed or unmentioned in "western" media. The cinema in Bengal is an exception.

The state of Maharashtra on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent has such a regional cinema tradition. This is based on the Marathi language, which is mostly spoken in Maharashtra1 The named cinema - the Marathi cinema - was the focus of the field research I undertook in spring 2008. The present work is dedicated to the topic of the creation of cultural identity through the Marathi cinema. In the following, “Marathi Cinema” refers to both the Marathi film industry, film history and films. The term "cinema" without the prefix "Marathi" refers to the physical institution of motion picture theater in which Marathi films are shown to an audience. What is designated becomes clear in the context of the respective use.

This master’s thesis is based on the various forms of source material that I collected during my research in Prabhät, the most important cinema institution for Marathi films in Pune, and with exceptions also in other cinemas. The source material consists of interviews with moviegoers, filmmakers and people who are connected to Marathi cinema but who do not exclusively consume films,

are still producing films and will therefore be referred to as "participants" in the following. The interviews were supplemented by participant observation in the cinema and during the screening of the film "Valu - The Wild Bull" (2007) on location.

During the research, my approach was based on Clifford Geertz's “understanding of culture”, who defined culture in his book “Density Description - Contributions to Understanding Cultural Systems” (1995) as follows:

“What I mean by Max Weber is that man is a being that is entangled in self-spun web of meaning, and I see culture as this web. Your investigation is therefore not an experimental science that searches for laws, but an interpretative one that searches for meanings. "(Geertz 1995: 9)

“Searching for meanings” is a procedure that I have set myself as a task. The aim of this research has not been to provide explanations, but to understand some aspect of the fabric of cultural meaning. I define Marathi cinema as one of these aspects.2 According to Fredrik Barth "corresponds" (Barth 1982: 9 - trans. A.S.) culture with "ethnic units" (ibid.). According to Barth, culture is not the basis of the formation of an ethnic group, but rather would be "produced" by it and thus be the result (cf. ibid .: 11).

The master's thesis explores the question of how Marathi cinema is effective in creating cultural identity in the aforementioned research context.3 The relevance of the research question arises primarily from the importance of Marathi cinema for its actors in the areas of production, distribution and reception. During my stay in Pune, I observed the popularity of Marathi films and the strong reference to the Prabhät cinema. In addition, an upswing in Marathi cinema that began five years ago makes research on this topic relevant. While other Indian cinema traditions4 have already been examined from an ethnological perspective (see e.g. Derné 2000, Dickey 1993, L. Srinivas 1998), an ethnological focus on Marathi cinema has so far not been taken with the exception of research by Véronique Bénéïs (2008b).

The research question requires different definitions in order to make the basics and requirements of the present work transparent. Just as Jan Assmann's theory of »cultural memory« (2007) is constitutive for this work, his identity definitions are also the basis of this master’s thesis.5 Assmann distinguishes between a »we« and an »I identity« (Assmann 2007: 130f.). He assumes that these two identities are mutually dependent, i.e. an ego identity6 does not arise alone, but is always socially determined (cf. ibid .: 131). Assmann describes this property of identity as "" sociogenic "" (ibid .: 130). Conversely, the we-identity, which he also "collective identity"7 names, depending on their bearers (ibid .: 131). In other words: it is the individuals who create and maintain the collective identity (cf. ibid.). "It [the collective identity - AS] is as strong or as weak as it is alive in the consciousness of the group members and is able to motivate their thoughts and actions." (Ibid .: 132) Identity is never unconscious, or in Assmann's words: " Identity is a matter of consciousness, that is, of an unconscious self-image becoming reflexive. ”(Ibid .: 130) This applies on a small scale (e.g. with respect to the person) as well as on a large scale (e.g. with respect to the nation or the community). Benedict Anderson (1988) assumes, like Assmann, that a self (and with that I do not necessarily refer to a self as a "person", but rather mean that a self can also designate the "self of a nation") always imagines and therefore became aware beforehand.

In the present work I am concerned with the collective self-image of a community and not the "personal identity" of individuals. Nevertheless, it should be noted that due to its cultural dependency, the ego identity is always »cultural identity« (ibid .: 132).8 According to Assmann, every identity is a cultural identity (cf. ibid.). The intensity of identification is not always the same, but variable (cf. ibid.).9 Identity formation is dynamic and self-images of a "we" are not fixed, but changing. Change is always based on the past. With the term »Identity Foundation« in the title of this work, I intend to show the process-like character of identity formation. Identity does not necessarily have to be newly formed, but can also arise from what is already there. Because, and this brings me back to Assmann's main thesis, "Societies need the past primarily for the purpose of defining themselves" (ibid .: 132f.). The existence of opposites is a further important condition for the emergence of collective identities (cf. ibid .: 134) or, in other words: "[0] without difference, no peculiarity" (ibid .: 135f.). This will also have to be taken into account in the course of the present work.

It is necessary to specify the term "cultural identity". In his definition of culture, Wimal Dissanayake, just as I understand it, refers to Geertz in that he understands culture as a web of meaning (cf. Dissanayake 1988: 2f.). Dissanayake adds a definition of cultural identity to the explanation of his understanding of culture:

»Cultural identity needs to be perceived as the way in which these meaning systems and their symbolic forms invest a given group with a readily identifiable distinctiveness. Rituals, symbols, material artifacts, forms of worship, norms of conduct, and the like are the externalized forms of a culture's meaning system, and when one is concerned with the investigation into the cultural identity of a given community, these demand the closest attention . «(Ibid .: 3)

I understand films, or more precisely Marathi films, as an externalized form of the fabric of cultural meaning. I agree with Dissanyake's assumption that Asian cinema in particular represents an important alienated form of cultural identity (cf. ibid.), Although I would like to point out that I cannot speak in general terms for Asian cinema, but only for Marathi cinema .

Identity is ambiguous. In the present work, a regional identity foundation is primarily dealt with, but I would like to emphasize that at the same time I assume that national identities, for example, exist. This will be seen in the course of the text. I would like to end the discussion on identities with a quote from Marc Augé. "Room" and "Walking" already refer to Chapter 5.3.2 of this work. The mirror or the canvas with its reflective properties will have to be the focus of the considerations repeatedly in the further course of the work.

»The happy and quiet experience of childhood - that is the experience of the first journey, of birth as a primal experience of being different, of knowing oneself as myself and as others, that of the experience of walking as the first form of practical use of space and is repeated by the experience of the mirror as the first identification of the self-image. "(Augé 1994: 99f., Herv. in orig.)

From the late 1980s onwards, social anthropologists began to deal more and more systematically with mass media as a social practice, while the study of mass media was previously viewed as inadequate for the subject (cf. Ginsburg / Abu-Lughod / Larkin 2002a: 3).10 Steve Derné examined Indian cinema ethnographically and wrote down his observations and analyzes in ethnography with the alliterary title “Movies, Masculinity, and Modernity” (2000).Derné presents the results of his field research in Dehra Dun and Varanasi regarding the audience of Hindi-language films11 Another important ethnography for dealing with Indian cinema is the work "Cinema and the Urban Poor in South India" (1993) by Sara Dickey. Dickey conducted research in the city of Madurai, in the state of Tamil Nadu, and took a holistic approach to illuminating aspects of cinema, ranging from film production to fan clubs to film reception. Lakshmi Srinivas conducted research in Bangalore's cinemas and summarized the results of this research in the article "The Active Audience" (2002). At the center of her representations are statements on the practices of film reception and the collective reaction to film content. Brian Larkin (1997) also devoted himself to Indian film, albeit in a non-Indian research context. He examined the question of the importance of Indian films among the Hausa. Ethnological literature on Marathi cinema is currently limited to Véronique Bénéï's investigation of Shivaji films (2008b). Bénéï devoted himself analytically to films by the director Bhalji Pendharkar (1898 - 1994) with regard to their intention and effect.

A large repertoire of different terms revolves around anthropological studies of electronic media and print media. "Mass media"12 Appadurai and Breckenridge reject as a term that encompasses all of these media forms because it ignores the complex relationships between producers and consumers of cultural media forms (cf. Appadurai / Breckenridge 1998: 4) and also western dichotomies along the lines of »high versus low culture; mass versus elite culture; and popular or folk versus classical culture ”(Appadurai / Breckenridge 1988: 6).13 I classify the cultural forms I have examined in the area that the authors define as "public culture" and that was created in order to avoid ("Western") intended dichotomies in particular.14 I conclude the conceptual classification of the field examined by me with the following remark by Christopher Piney: "[I] t is vital that we grasp Indian public culture not as a homogenized whole but as a differentiated field with diverse audiences and agendas." Pinney 2001: 5)

The weighting of the first half of the thesis (Chapters 2-4) is on the description. This part focuses on the presentation of field research. In some cases, an attempt is made in a descriptive way to create or reflect the sensual and atmospheric (especially in Section 3.4).15 I am therefore aiming for a "visualization" of the topic by means of language and choice of words. In total there are three forms of presentation of the visual that I combine in this work. Firstly a visualization through language, secondly a photo-documentary (see Appendix I) and thirdly a filmic visualization. “When we look, we are doing something more deliberate than seeing and yet more unguarded than thinking. We are putting ourselves in a sensory state that is at once one of vacancy and ofheightened awareness. «(MacDougall 2006: 7) I intend to do justice to a topic that is dedicated to the visual on a visual level of presentation and processing . I would like to point out that in the chapter names as well as in the text itself, I use partly connotative language associations, partly terms borrowed from (Indian) cineastics. For example, »intermission« (Chapter 4) refers to the pause after the first half of a Hindi or Marathi film projection. I justify these word games, which are based on narration, firstly by the fact that the work deals with a narrative medium and secondly that I have the claim to merge these narrative parameters with a well-founded scientific approach.

The second half of the work (Chapters 5-8) is devoted to analysis and examines the three categories of space, medium and language, which I assume to constitute cultural identity in my research context. Each part of this triga is assigned a chapter within which the question of the extent to which the individual category is related to the process of establishing cultural identity is investigated. In order to discuss this process, it is necessary to first deal with the three categories in detail. In general, the analysis of each of the three categories follows a specific system: From creating an argumentative-defining basis, I move on to specializing in an already determined local (mostly Indian) context, in order to finally conclude the treatment of the respective category in the concrete research context.

Chapter 5 deals with the theme of space. Edward S. Casey (1996) examines the concept of space phenomenologically. The text enables a link between philosophical constructs of ideas and ethnological applicability. The strong reference to human realities allows and simplifies its use in the ethnological context presented here. Chapter 6 deals with the topic of film as a medium and asks the question of how film can develop a cultural identity-creating effect. The focus is on the investigation of the film "Valu" (Section 6.2.3). The moviegoers and the filmmaker have their say in order to enable a comparison between the intention of the director and the impressions of the moviegoers. This is followed by an ethnological film analysis (Section, which tries to name elements of the visual language and to identify characteristics of the cultural. Finally, Chapter 7 and the subsequent sub-chapters focus on the topic of language. In chapter 8 there is a reference back to the title of the thesis. In conclusion, this chapter makes the naming of the work explicit, but the principle of

Reflections from the canvas picked up again and again. The three categories are linked in the conclusion (Section 9.1). It is shown how space, medium and language work (together) in the research context of Marathi cinema and whether this cooperation can be attributed to a cultural identity-creating effect.

Stephen Hughes formulates an urgent need for an anthropological examination of questions of film showing in India. “Perhaps the most urgent research needed at present is at cinema theaters themselves. The history of film exhibition, languishing at the moment in every city and town in India, is just waiting to be investigated. "(Hughes 2003: o.S.). The present work on Marathi cinema attempts to meet this need and to make a contribution to ethnological cinema research in India.

2 “Exploring silver screen reflections” - field research

The field research I undertook in Pune does not claim to have researched Marathi cinema in its entirety. My research interest was a local and temporary section; Neither should nor can the data presented in this work lay claim to completeness. My results are based on a selection of interviews, and if I generalize below, then I do so within the limits of my research. I don't want later generalizations as generalizations16 misunderstood, but should only be read as a generalization in the context of my research material. I am aware of the fragmentary nature of research.

The research group was made up of people whom I assign to the three areas of film reception, film production and film participation. Those involved included a still photographer, a film distributor, the managing director of the Prabhät Film Company (PFC), the Prabhät manager and ticket sellers from various other cinemas. I conducted interviews with four filmmakers: Chandravadan, Mihir Apte, Umesh Kulkarni and Sachin Kundalkar. In terms of quantity, the interviews I conducted with moviegoers predominate, while those with filmmakers and those involved are in qualitative contrast to the moviegoer interviews. The reason for these differences was my methodical approach.17

In rare cases, I asked moviegoers about their occupation and I did not ask about financial income. In this respect, the indications of social location are mainly reduced to external characteristics. I mostly conducted interviews with adults of all ages and both genders.

With regard to the appearance and clothing of the moviegoers, I was able to make the following statements: Men and women differed in their choice of clothing insofar as many male moviegoers oriented themselves towards "Western" clothing styles.

So I realized that jeans and also T-shirts were preferred items of clothing. Women, on the other hand, only wore jeans in exceptional cases and then mostly in combination with a light fabric blouse (qamiz). Most of the time I observed "Indian" clothing styles among female moviegoers. Women made it appear to pay attention to a suitable color combination when wearing salvar qamiz (with dupatta). The alternative to salvar qamiz was the sari. The sari that was worn for going to the cinema gave me the impression that it was a sari for special occasions. Older men wore ironed collared shirts instead of the T-shirts mostly worn by young men. Groups of boys often appeared in their school uniform. I was only able to observe elderly men wearing the dhotar (a cloth wrapped as trousers) in very rare exceptional cases. The clothes of the cinema-goers were always clean and neither tattered nor old. I mention this because it is in contrast to the moviegoers described by Derné (cf. Derné 2000: 21). Both Derné's research group and Dickey's (1993) were composed mainly of people from the poorer urban classes - the so-called "urban poor" (cf. Dickey 1993: 8). Balkrishna Bhide (hereinafter B. D. Bhide), the Prabhat manager, classifies his cinema audience as the urban middle class18 to. In this respect, I adopt the rough but only affordable allocation to the middle class. It is not possible for me to make distinctions within the broad category of the middle class. But I suspect a greater financial mobility of the filmmakers I studied compared to the majority of moviegoers. I also assign those involved to the middle class.

Since I conducted the interviews with filmmakers in two cases (Sachin K. and Umesh K.) at their home, there are indications of a social location.

In both cases it was noticeable that the filmmakers could afford servants and lived in decentralized residential areas, i.e. outside the city center. The apartments of these filmmakers were characterized by spaciousness, brightness, relative isolation from street noise, new furniture and a generally spacious interior. Certificates were hung on the walls, or trophies were placed on the shelves, which were also stocked with books - indications of the directors' successes in film. I interpret all of this as a sign of education and financial prosperity. The surname K. refers to the director's Brahmanic origins. In the village context, the term

name Kulkami the village accountant (cf. Karve 1968: 148). The filmmakers I spoke to were between 30 and 40 years old, with the exception of Ch., Who had to be around 70 years old. I didn't speak to any female filmmaker.

It is difficult to spatially limit the study group. The moviegoers are those who come to the Prabhät cinema (in some cases I have also conducted interviews in multiplex cinemas) and are characterized by their gathering in the Prabhät room. Those present differ from film presentation to film presentation and my definition of the group to be examined therefore only refers to the characterization by action and only to the extent that it is the space of the cinema in which this action takes place.

2.1 Research location

2.1.1 The city of Pune as a research context

Pune is a city of around three million people, located 130 kilometers southeast of Mumbai on the edge of the Dekhan Highlands in the state of Maharashtra. In addition to Mumbai, Pune is the cultural center of Maharashtra. Its status as the cultural capital of Maharashtra is a legacy of Pune's colonial days:

"Deemed" educational headquarters "from the days of the Bombay presidency in the nineteenth century, Pune was at the heart of educational innovations and policies under the British. This legacy reflects in the number of colleges and famous Orientalist institutions known the world over, even today. "(Bénéï 2008a: 33)

Pune, divided by the two rivers Mukta and Mutha, became widely known in Europe and the USA through the Osho International Meditation Resort, founded in 1974. The Koregaon Park district north of the city center in particular is characterized by the wine-red robes of the SamnyasT. Dipti T., who assisted me as an interpreter during my research, locates the residents of the city of Pune in the following way:

»Camp, Koregaon Park, Kalyani Nagar - everyone lives here, here you will find a multicultural society. But in Prabhät, in the area around Lakshmi Street, the center, the city center, this is where mainly Maharashtrians live. Therefore the culture, the films, the art, everything is pure Marathi - Maharashtrian. «(Dipti T., 03/10/2008)19

The city center, in which my main place of research, the Marathi cinema Prabhät, was located, is strongly influenced by the residents of Maharashtra, whereas districts like Camp, - that's what the Punese call the area around the shopping street Mahatma Gandhi Road - Koregaon Park and Kalyani Nagar are largely inhabited by immigrants from other states.

Pune is a city that is of great importance to Indian cinema in general. The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) and the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) are located here. Until the founding of the FTII, the famous Prabhät Studio Company (also Prabhät Film Company), which produced the first Indian films, was located on the site of today's film and television college. Importance of the city of Pune for the Marathi film industry

Along with Mumbai and Kolhapur, which is in the south of the state, Pune is the most important city for the Marathi film industry. The PFC is based in Pune. The company was founded in Kolhapur in 1929, and in 1933 it moved to Pune to be closer to the cinematic events of Mumbai (then Bombay). The PFC wasn't the first Pune-based film production company. "Poona was not unquainted [sic] with film making as it had supported the Aryan Film Company and United Picture Syndicate in the silent days and had already its first talkie studio in Saraswati Cinetone." (Kale 1979: 1514f.)

The PFC, which is now owned by Aruna Damle, quickly advanced to become the most important studio on the Indian west coast in Pune (with the largest studio stage in all of India). The company produced a total of 45 films. In 1953 the studios affiliated with the PFC stopped their production. Seven years later, the film institute was founded on the former studio site in Pune. In 1974 the film institute was merged with the TV Training Center. This union resulted in today's FTII. The importance of the city of Pune for the pan-Indian film scenario and thus also for the local Marathi-language film industry increased further when the NFAI was established in 1964. Future filmmakers from all over India are studying at the FTII, but also filmmakers who intend to make Marathi-language films after completing their training. Filmmakers who are important to Marathi cinema come and have come from this institution and will continue to complete their training there in the future.

The PFC founded its own movie theaters early on in Bombay (now Mumbai), Poona (Pune) and Madras (Chennai). The »Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema« presents the reasons for establishing our own cinemas: »This made them fairly independent from managing-agency financiers for production capital« (Rajadhyaksha / Willemen 1994: 165). One of these cinemas is the Prabhät Theatre20, opened in 1934, which was my main research site in Pune and its significance2021 as Marathi-language cinema is explicitly discussed in the further course of the work.

I tried to find out about Pune's attraction and relevance for filmmakers in the Marathi-speaking sector in interviews. The special role of the institutions of the FTII and NFAI was mentioned again and again. International, national and regional films are shown in the NFAI every Saturday. These film screenings also have the function of a meeting point for those interested and committed to culture in the city of Pune. To live and work as a filmmaker in the city in which the Indian film started is of great importance: “Pune is one of the main hubs of Marathi film culture. It all started from here in fact.The Marathi film industry started in Pune. «(A., March 23, 2008) Since 2002, the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) has taken place every January in Pune. Pune is a cultural center for Marathi-language literature, theater, music and film. The director K. formulates the following motives for his selection of Punes as the center of his work and life:

“[A] lot of film makers are staying in this city and culturally it's a most vibrant city in Maharashtra and in India. It's a cultural capital and it's a center of education. So at least we have all that which a film maker will need here. I prefer to stay away from Bombay, from that competition and from that rat race. I stay in Pune, I quietly work on my scripts and I read and I watch films. That kind of space the city gives me. «(K., March 24th, 2008) Billboards, newspaper articles, notices in cafés provide information about cultural events throughout the city. The cultural life in Pune can be felt and perceived in public space. Cinemas in Pune - single screen and multiplex

In addition to these film institutions, which are important for the pan-Indian cinema landscape, there are numerous cinemas in Pune. In addition to the multiplex cinemas, which have emerged mainly in recent years, which have several cinema halls and air conditioning and show films in English, Hindi and Marathi, there are countless small and often quite old single-screen theaters that make a difference compared to the multiplex Cinemas are much less comfortable. Some of these cinemas, equipped with only one screen, show English films as well as Hindi and Marathi productions. Others specialize in Hindi films, and still others do without films in English. Above all, the Vijay Theater and the Prabhät should be mentioned here. The Prabhät is the only pure Marathi-language movie theater in Punes. Most of the single-screen theaters have ceiling and wall fans, simple wooden benches without upholstery or seats with plastic seat covers and small screens. Dolby surround systems are seldom found. The entrances to the cinema are usually hung with a heavy fabric, on the sides of which daylight and traffic noise penetrate even during the performance. Most of these single-screen theaters have two seating categories: Dress Circle and Balcony. The cinema halls have two levels, one of which overlooks the ground-level dress circle like a balcony. The balcony seating category is the more popular. The Dress Circle is the cheaper seat category and costs around 30 rupees in the cinemas I have visited22 per person. In terms of price, the two categories differ by around five to ten rupees. In terms of seating comfort, Dress Circle and Balcony differ from one another in that the chairs in the Dress Circle usually have no upholstery. The view of the screen is much better in the balcony. The prices of the first screening of the day are often five to ten rupees cheaper than those of the other screenings. Single-screen theaters have simple sanitary facilities that are integrated into the cinema complex. Film screenings are interrupted by a break of around ten minutes, during which the visitors go to the kiosk of the cinema and buy soft drinks, chips or small snacks (Fig. 14).

2.1.2 The single-screen theater Prabhät as a research location

The Prabhät (Fig. 1, Fig. 2) is the oldest cinema in the city and forms the center of the Punes film network, into which I was able to immerse myself and make numerous contacts. The position that the Prabhät occupies within this network is explained by its Marathi film specification and the intensive promotion - which is tantamount to an homage - of Marathi films. This is the reason why the cinema is highly valued by both filmmakers and cinema goers.

The Prabhät was founded on September 21, 1934, but did not show exclusively Marathi films from the start. The first film projected was an English film entitled "Love me tonight"23. Six months after the opening, "Ayodhyecha Raja" (1932) by director V. Shantaram was the first Marathi film to be shown in the Prabhät. From 1972 the cinema operators decided to exclusively project Marathi films and began this tradition with the film »Pinjra« (1972) by V. Shantaram. The film dominated the Prabhät screen for 48 consecutive weeks. At no point in its existence did the Prabhät suffer from financial difficulties. The choice of films and the audience's enthusiasm for Marathi films are the reasons for the continuously positive development of cinema. Originally, tickets were sold for seven different seating categories and four film screenings per day. The 9:30 am demonstration was added later. Only in the course of time did they switch to showing a different film in each of the five screenings. The reasons for this were the increasing number of Marathi productions, the associated larger selection of films and the sustained positive response and demand from the audience. Today the extremely differentiated film selection is made on the basis of quality criteria by the current manager of the cinema, B. D. Bhide, and the owner Vivek Damle.

The Prabhät Talkies are the centerpiece - the location and the long history of the cinema allow this metaphor - and the central symbol of the urban Marathi cinema. Or, as the newspaper “Mid-Day” puts it: “Prabhat theater has already become a legacy in Pune. Like Prabhat Film Company, Prabhat theater is also the oldest in the city and is known to be the Mecca of Marathi films. «(Http:// Prabhat-Theater -Mecca-of-Marathi-films-diamond-jubliee-75-years.htm [as of June 8, 2009])

My perception is that there is no competing relationship between any of the other single screen theaters in town and the Prabhät. The film repertoire of all other cinemas with only one screen is made up of Marathi and Hindi-language films, and English-language films are rarely shown. The outstanding position of the Prabhät, due to its focus exclusively on Marathi films, is recognized by the operators and managers of other cinemas. The statements of the cinema operators testified to respect for the work of the prabhat and confirm the outstanding importance of the prabhat in the urban cinema context.

2.1.3 Dawn and afterglow - The day in Prabha

The cinema opens its doors for the first film screening at 9:30 in the morning and lives up to its name Prabhat, which translates as "dawn". On some days the performance doesn't start until 10 a.m. On these days, at 9:30 a.m., the employees of the cinema are still sweeping the courtyard (Fig. 12), disposing of waste and cleaning the steps to the cinema hall and the cinema seats. Every morning every single one of the folding seats is cleaned of dust with a damp cloth. The snack bar opens around 9:40 a.m. and supplies are replenished. The projectionist appears on the bike at 9:45 am; B. D. Bhide arrives on the moped about five minutes later. The ticket office opens at 9:55 a.m. The visitors who have been waiting for this moment for half an hour (Fig. 4) buy their first tickets. The last screening ends around 11:30 p.m. I've found that the Sunday screening at 3:30 p.m. is the most popular. There are daily film screenings throughout the day in the Prabhat. The cinema week extends from Friday to Thursday. On Fridays, the Prabhat regularly hosts film premieres, to which actors and directors often appear in order to present films to the audience directly and with the greatest possible immediacy and proximity. The audience for premieres is immense and the capacity of 894 seats is usually exhausted for such an occasion.24 In addition, the Prabhat organizes retrospectives at regular intervals, which are either dedicated to well-known Marathi directors or actors and for which the audience is also quite high.25 For morning and matinee performances, the entrance fee is 20 (dress circle) or 30 rupees (balcony). During the morning performances, I was mainly able to see groups of older women, sometimes accompanied by a man. Older couples also prefer the even cooler morning hours to go to the cinema. The visitors are well dressed. The audience for the matinee performances consists mostly of young men who take a seat in the dress circle and mothers with their children who book tickets for the balcony. During the afternoon performance, there are more groups of school boys and girls in school uniforms. Moviegoers have to pay 30 and 40 rupees for the screenings at 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. This means that the entrance fees in Prabhät are four to five times cheaper than in multiplex cinemas. These affordable prices also make it possible for a large family to go to the cinema. According to the manager, most of the visitors to Prabhät belong to the Indian middle class26 at. The very central location contributes significantly to the popularity of the cinema with moviegoers. The very target group that the Prabhät appeals to with its focus on Marathi-language films actually lives in the district in which the cinema is located. The travel time and the effort to go to the cinema are short for most cinema-goers. The affordable entrance fees and the familiar atmosphere in Prabhät, which is created by the employees who have been working there for years and the manager B. D. Bhide, contribute to the popularity of the Prabhät talkies. The prabhät is of great relevance for informants from all three reference groups - producers27, Recipients28 and stakeholders.

Around 20 people are employed in the Prabhät, of which around 15 are employed at each performance: the ticket inspector is at the entrance gate, five salespeople work at the various kiosks (before the break of a film, two sales stands are also set up in the courtyard, which are again after the break are dismantled), two ticket vendors serve the visitors in the entrance area and seven ushers guide the cinema guests to their seats with the help of flashlights. B. D. Bhide is also in the Prabhät daily from the first performance until around 7 p.m. Bhide starts his working day by taking the previous day's income from the safe and counting it after entering his office. The prabhät day ends with the last performance around 11:30 p.m. Moviegoers make their way home. The gates of the Prabhät are closed after a rough clean-up.

2.2 Methods

The most important method of research was participant observation, which I supplemented with semi-structured interviews. On the basis of systematic observations, I examined the reactions and receptions of the film "Valu" in the cinema during the performance. From the beginning of the research planning, it was clear to me that a central aspect of the subject of investigation, the cinema, was to be documented in visual form, at least in part in my work. This would have the advantage, among other things, of having photo and video material available for evaluations later. All interviews were recorded with a simple mini-DV camera by my partner S, who accompanied me throughout the entire period of research. I also photographed numerous aspects of the research context with a simple digital camera. The individual methods used are briefly thematized, problematized and critically reflected in the following.

2.2.1 Participant observation and interviews

Participant observation in a cinematic context has its natural limitations. The cinema is not a living space that is continuously inhabited and animated. The cinemas that I got to know in Pune have the great advantage for ethnological research that they are busy for a much longer period of time than is the case in most cinemas in Germany. This means that there is activity in the cinema for 14 hours on all seven days of the week. I did not spend 14 hours a day in the Prabhät, but set myself specific time windows for my presence. The aim was to get as comprehensive a picture as possible of the processes and social actions in the cinema at different times of the day and on different days of the week. I took part in everyday cinema life by observing, registered various processes in the cinema, such as preparations for the film screenings, the work of the individual employees, when which cinema-goers appeared, which films were visited and how much, and I tried to establish the relationships between cinema employees and cinema-goers to observe.

At the beginning of my research and my daily appearance in the Prabhät, the interest I showed as a German for the Marathi cinema was inexplicable for employees and cinema-goers in the Prabhät. Over the course of the weeks, this skepticism almost turned into a feeling of honor and respect in so far as I, as a German, became interested in their cinema, which has mostly been neglected both nationally and internationally. My research interest in the regional cinema of Maharashtra was interpreted as a further sign of the upswing and interpreted as an effect of increasing popularity, which is now even attracting international attention. The regular appearance of my person in the Prabhät finally led to the fact that I was increasingly integrated into the cinema community and my actions and actions no longer attracted constant attention. B. D. Bhide made the effort to leave his office every time I or our arrival to greet us personally. For the cinema-goers who did not visit the Prabhät regularly, it was always inexplicable what we were doing and why I was so busy entering things in my diary before the film showing or why I lit my book with a small flashlight in the back row during the screening, to be able to take notes. Thus, during this research, I was rarely able to fulfill the ideal of participant observation: to be forgotten in the community as a participant. Most of the time, despite the friendly and open-minded acceptance by the moviegoers, we were viewed as oddball with inexplicable interests and our present was always realized and was always "conscious". The use of cameras and recording devices as well as the conducting of interviews gave us the aura of "real" researchers and provided an explanation for the presence of Germans in a Marathi cinema. Participant observation took place before, after and during the film screening.

Not only in Prabhät, I took part in the processes of the cinema while observing, but also in a multiplex cinema and at the location of the film "Valu". I see systematic observation as an aspect of participant observation. With regard to the film "Valu", I tried to observe and note the reactions of the audience to certain scenes in the film. I recorded at which points in the film the audience laughed, stamped their feet, clapped their hands, or were very still. Since the film was shown without subtitles, I was only able to sketch out the scenes and record the corresponding audience reaction. I supplemented the participant observation with interviews, some of which I conducted freely and some of which I had prepared in a semi-structured manner.

I conducted interviews with various actors in Marathi cinema: with visitors to the Prabhät and a multiplex cinema, with filmmakers (Umesh K.29, Sachin K., Mihir A. and Ch.30 ) as well as with producers, film distributors, a still photographer and cinema employees. I conducted the interviews with filmmakers, producers and film distributors in English. At first I tried to conduct the interviews with the cinema-goers in English, but quickly realized that many cinema-goers had limited possibilities for expression in English. For this reason, Dipti T. supported me as an interpreter. The quality of the statements and the depth of the interviews - and above all the depth of my insights - increased in a remarkable way through their help and the use of the Marathi language.

We usually conducted the interviews with the moviegoers before the start of the performance. The first cinema-goers arrived around 45 minutes before the start of the film and waited for the ticket counter to open. It was very possible to conduct interviews in this situation. After buying tickets, the cinema-goers stayed in the inner courtyard, bought snacks or drinks or sat on the benches of the balustrade that lines the cinema, which opened up further good interview situations. Sometimes I asked some moviegoers to allow me a few minutes after the film was shown so that they could ask questions about the film they had just seen. The interviews rarely lasted longer than 20 minutes. I conducted the interviews with the filmmakers K. and K. with them in their private homes. My impression was that they could speak freely and at length in their personal environment. With A.I said in a street cafe in the center of Pune. The interviews with the filmmakers usually lasted one to one and a half hours. Aruna Damle invited us to her private rooms in the "Damle Bungalow" and devoted three hours to interviews and showing photographs of the PFC. She was the one of my interview partners who had the greatest influence on the process, the type of question and the content. Aruna Damle asked to be able to start with a few Sanskrit verses and to remember the legacy of her father-in-law, Vishnu Govind Damle (1892-1945), who founded the PFC together with V. Shantaram in 1930.

As the research progressed, I held two group discussions, one of which came about spontaneously. I had planned the second group discussion specifically because I hoped to gain information and insights during such a discussion that were not possible within the interviews held in the cinema. The main gain in knowledge was the personal significance of the cinema for the panelists31. I believe that I can differentiate tendencies from the aspects of meaning mentioned in the discussion and derive meaning factors that apply to many Marathi cinema-goers. The discussion had the advantage that little interference and guidance was necessary on my part and the conversation could develop freely. This showed which topics were particularly relevant for the participants in relation to the context of the conversation.

2.2.2 Film and Photography in a Visual Research Context

Since it was certain that my partner would be there during the research anyway, I asked him to film all interviews and research processes. The intention was to use visual means to document an essential aspect of the research topic of cinema and the visual medium of film. For every photograph or film recording that explicitly focused on individual people, we asked the corresponding person for permission beforehand. In no case was there a negative reaction to this question. Since it was not me, but my partner, who led the camera during the interviews, the feared, sometimes inherent, limit-building effect of the camera did not occur. According to my perception, the camera (photo and film camera) was not perceived as disturbing, distant or intrusive in any situation. This may also be due to the fact that, also in the consciousness of the interviewees, we were in a visual research context with the topic of cinema. The filmmakers, or people more closely related to film production, even discussed the camera in particular and asked whether the camera was running again after changing the cassette and whether they could continue speaking. The familiarity with the film medium had very positive effects for us. But I shouldn't neglect the aspect of a possible staging of statements that might not have been made without the presence of a camera.

For me, the photographs and film recordings have three uses in particular: the memory of situations and spaces as well as the possibility of visual evaluation of question-specific reactions, facial expressions or peculiarities of the interviewees. Another benefit is the learning aspect. Looking at the recordings today, I become aware of which questions I would ask differently today or for which aspects of research I would choose alternative approaches in the future. This leads to the chapter on critical reflection on methods.

2.2.3 Critical method reflection

The first phase of research, which I described as the "Open Eye Phase", had the function, which turned out to be very useful, to be able to let first impressions work with an unrestricted openness of the research perspective, because at the beginning of the research I had no fixed questions in mind. My research was therefore a thesis-generating and not a thesis-checking research. I rate this characteristic of research as positive, as the prerequisite for research that examines the theses is the existence of premises that allow the research question to be less flexible.

Above all, I see two main problems in my research: the lack of command of the Marathi language and the choice of where to live. Today I would choose the latter closer to the research location, insofar as it is possible in the vicinity of the cinema and thus in the center of the city. The participant observation could be more intensive and the daily research period would not have to be "planned", but could take place more spontaneously. The support of an interpreter was the right decision, but I still see problems with interpreting the statements. The interpreting of the interview responses already filters out which meanings seem important to the interpreter and I am deprived of the opportunity to decide for myself which aspects are interesting and noteworthy. Researching in the cinema before and after the screenings has the major disadvantage that the interviews are limited in time. Appointments for longer interviews seemed difficult to me. The two intense group discussions, which were conducted freely and rarely directed by me, made up for the limitations of the cinema interviews a little. Another difficulty with cinema research is that it is very difficult to observe gestures, facial expressions and behavior in an almost dark cinema hall. My observations in the dark were, however, supplemented by the perception of the background noise, the smells and the feeling of "atmospheric" in general.

3 By film-seeers and filmmakers - the meaning and perception of Marathi cinema

The meaning and perception of the prabhät as a cinema, as a place for showing and reviewing Marathi films on the one hand, and the meaning and perception of Marathi films on the other hand differ for moviegoers, filmmakers and those working in Marathi cinema. The intentions and meanings of film viewers and filmmakers with regard to a Prabhät visit and the reception or production of Marathi films differ greatly. I would like to present these different meanings separately and therefore opt for sub-chapters that treat the meanings for filmmakers and cinema-goers separately from one another. Some aspects of the prabha are repeated in the text. It should be noted that the repetition can be used to deduce the importance of individual mentions.

3.1 The importance of prabhät for moviegoers and filmmakers

3.1.1 Moviegoers

The Prabhät Theater, which has existed since 1934, is the most important and popular marathi cinema in Pune. For audiences and filmmakers alike, the Prabhät is a synonym for Marathi films, as it is the only cinema in the city that is entirely dedicated to regional films. "[W] hen you think of Marathi cinema it's Prabhätl" (04/03/2008), said Karishma T. in the group discussion.

The Prabhät is very popular with moviegoers due to its central inner-city location and the transport links to other parts of the city. Even after the last performance, which ends around 11:30 p.m., the streets in the area around the Prabhät are still very busy, which cinema-goers find pleasant and gives them a feeling of security. The low admission prices allow visitors to watch films on a regular basis. Cinema goers appreciate the quality of the film projection, the cleanliness of the cinema and the seating comfort. More important than qualitative-technical criteria, however, are other aspects that make the offer attractive for a film visit. These are also the factors that are responsible for the fact that the prabha is a symbol for Marathi films.

The Prabhat is Pune's central institution of Marathi cinema and is of great relevance for all those interested in Marathi cinema in the city. Many of the cinema-goers only go to the Prabhat to see Marathi films and thus categorically exclude viewing marathi-language films in other cinemas. One example shows the great personal relevance that the prabhat represents for some cinema-goers: One visitor expressed the personal necessity to see Marathi films there by saying that he had long waited for a certain film to appear, but so far only the film had been shown in other city cinemas but not in Prabhat. Despite his urgent request, he waited for the prabhat to appear. Other Prabhat attendees told me that they were introduced to Prabhat as children by their parents, who in turn were introduced to Prabhat by their parents. For many of my informants, watching films in Prabhat is a family tradition that they continue by regularly going to Prabhat with their children to see a Marathi film. A male moviegoer drew a comparison between prabhat and the importance of being at home:

“He [the moviegoer interviewed - A.S.] said that the woman in India goes to the man after marriage. She moves into the man's house. But there is a special connection that she continues to have with her parents and the parental home. And so, according to his idea, it is also with this theater [Kino - A.S.]. This is especially true of the Marathi theater. This connection is unimaginable. And then he said that there weren't that many Marathi people in other theaters. But here the atmosphere is quite full of Marathi. That’s a good feeling. We say "fatherland" or something. In the same way, he said, this theater is like the mother of Marathi films. This cinema has so much importance. "(Moviegoers, 03.03.2008, trans. D. T.)

In an email, Dipti T. explicitly responded to this statement again and explained the significance of the term »parental home«:

“This word is very emotional, especially for Indian women, because it is the place where they mostly lived until they got married, where their parents live, where their personality and identity were shaped, [this] they have to leave all of a sudden. The parental home is so important in the life of Indian women. In the same way, the man said that the roots of the Marathi films lie in the Prabhat. «(Dipti T., email from June 26, 2008)

Long-term Prabhat visitors appreciate the family atmosphere, which gives them the feeling of a second home, and mention the personal interest that the Prabhat employees have in them and their well-being. Especially B. D. Bhide, the manager of the cinema, tries to establish a personal relationship with the regular visitors, which they notice very positively and is also expressed:

“They are very culturous. All stuff is very nice here. They take personal interest. When I come here Mr. Bhide he comes and asks> you have not been here for a long time <. They take personal interest because they know their clients very well. And everything is kept very clean and so I love coming here. "

The Kino Prabhät is a meeting place for people who feel particularly connected to the Marathi culture. You go to Prabhät because there you meet like-minded people and people from your own culture. The knowledge that "everyone here is Marathas"32 creates a homely feeling and the Prabhät exudes a »home-like atmosphere« for many visitors. You dedicate three hours to a common and connecting interest and cultivate your own culture by going to the cinema. Since the Prabha makes an important cultural contribution through its focus on Marathi films, many visitors want to promote the Prabha in its work. As a Marathi moviegoer, you are proud of the Prabhät and its limitation to Marathi films, which is unique in the city. »Other theaters don't show these Marathi pictures. This theater shows only Marathi picture. We are proud of this theater! «(Cinema-goers, 23.03.2008) Paraphrased, many cinema-goers say» We are Marathas and that's why we see Marathi films - in Prabhät «.

The majority of the Prabhät visitors come from the urban middle class. The knowledge of meeting people from the same income bracket in the Prabhät is also an important aspect. This gives the moviegoers a feeling of togetherness and creates a connection between them. Cinema-goers do not feel a sense of strangeness towards the Prabhät's clientele, but can identify with the other cinema-goers. A male moviegoer justified his visit to the Prabhät by saying that “everyone here is Marathi and has the feeling of being Marathi. That’s why I’ve been coming here for years ”(cinema-goers, 03.03.2008, trans. D. T.,). Moviegoers noticed and articulated to me that »simple people« who do not have high demands for comfort or who like special extravagances watch films in the Prabhät. In the said group discussion it was discussed that in the Prabhät, in contrast to the multiplex cinema, it is possible to express the emotions generated by the film without this being perceived as a disturbance by the other cinema-goers.

“Actually I wanna say one thing. So you know, because in multiplex you have these high-class-society-people and whenever there is a good scene going on I feel like whistling, I feel like shouting, but in multiplex you can't do it. (...) because the audience around they are like> shhh, shhh <. You know, they are bothered. Whereas in Prabhät it's like at home, you just shout, you scream, you dance. . «(Karishma T., April 3rd, 2008)

Due to the former connection between Prabhät Talkies and the famous PFC, Tanvi Damle, the granddaughter of Aruna Damles, suspects that the Prabhät cinema is still a synonym for Marathi films for many visitors, or that this relationship gives Prabhät meaning: »I guess people haven't quite come out of that impression. So I think that's the reason why they go to Prabhät. «(Tanvi D., 04/03/2008)

3.1.2 Filmmakers

The significant factors for filmmakers are partly congruent with those of moviegoers. As already mentioned, the Prabhät in Pune is the only cinema that exclusively focuses on Marathi films. The filmmakers pay great respect to this character, which is unique in Pune and dedicated to the Marathi cinema. The film producers see the great relevance of this task of the prabhät. Due to the high reputation of cinema, it is of great interest for filmmakers to be able to show their film in Prabhät. “They are totally satisfied when they get Prabhät talkies. They are fully satisfied. They think that something we will get from the Prabhät. «(BD Bhide, April 3rd, 2008) The filmmakers' knowledge of the constant high number of visitors and thus participation in the reputation of the cinema makes it particularly desirable for them to have the Prabhät for their own To be able to win a film. For Marathi filmmakers, being able to show their film in the Prabhät means an increase in reputation and honor; at the same time, this is an assurance that the film is well received. As a filmmaker, you strive to have a good relationship with the Prabhät; I could regularly observe that filmmakers and producers were in the manager's office over a cup of tea (cahä) in personal conversation with B. D. Bhide. The director Ch. Perceives the Prabhät as both audience and producer friendly:

»[T] hey don't stream any other language - Hindi or English. And they are producer friendly, they are audience friendly. Audience is also taken care of here. Producer is also taken care. But audience is also taken care. And number of prominent producers, they insist getting their films screened here, because of the reputation of the theater. (...) [T] hats why we make it the point to come to this theater. And this theater helps us in all respects. «(Ch., 02/10/2008)

For Chandravadan, the quality of the prabhät lies primarily in the comprehensive support that the filmmaker receives, as well as in the care of the audience, on whom the individual success of a film depends. Since the Prabhät in Pune is unique in terms of support for the filmmaker, Chandravadan shows his films in Pune exclusively in the Prabhät. The reputation of the cinema for traditional reasons and the close connection with the PFC are also significant for filmmakers. With the Prabhät, the founders of the internationally known PFC created a movie theater, which had the purpose of making the films made available to the public on their own screen and gaining financial independence for subsequent film productions.

Bhide, who has been in management since 1971 and who previously produced four of his own Marathi films, is very ambitious when it comes to personal support for his clients. He regards both filmmakers and moviegoers as his clientele:

“I like this job. Because I'm in this line, that's why I can help the producers, the distributors. I have to see all this in the management of the theater. (...) I do care of the public. About 15 days back one old man about 80 years old, he was seeing a picture. During the picture he got some trouble.He got pressure and he collapsed in his chair. (...) I said to my four persons> take him here <, we laid him here and I was doing like this [waves a piece of paper to an imaginary person - A.S.]. One hour he was sleeping here. (.) I helped that old person, I was giving water for drinking and was his fan, that's why he after half an hour he got it and then went on. And after that he wrote a letter to me. (...) This is our duty when they come in my place I have to protect them. I must take care of them. This is my duty. «(B. D. Bhide, April 3, 2008)

Bhide's strong relationship with the Prabha is also expressed in the following statement: “This is my home! Some people say this is my second wife [laughs - A.S.]. One is in the home and here is second. "(Bhide, April 3rd, 2008)

Nuas B., who distributes and produces Marathi films, also pointed out the importance of the prabhät due to its uniqueness in Pune:

»Actually we have got many multiplexes in Pune and very few single theaters available and that's why we have got only one big theater for Marathi cinema - that is Prabhät. All other theaters have not been fully devotive for Marathi cinemas. «(B., March 31, 2008)

Filmmakers regret that there is no cinema in Pune like the Prabhät. It is expressly requested that there be further single-screen theaters with the exclusive focus on Marathi films.

As a small cinema, the Prabhat makes a major contribution to the promotion of regional film culture, and the position of a cinema like the Prabhät with its exclusive focus on regional language films is unique in Pune. Filmmakers appreciate the special efforts made towards the audience. Moviegoers experience a high level of personal appreciation. The more than 75-year-old tradition of the Prabhat makes the cinema one of the "veterans" of the Marathi cinema tradition and this reputation considerably enhances a film that is shown or premiered in the Prabhat. The actors and everyone else involved in a Marathi film production also participate in the aura of this traditional cinema. Tradition and uniqueness, which arise from the concentration on Marathi-language films, give the single-screen theater a high reputation with moviegoers and filmmakers.

3.2 Importance of Marathi Cinema for Moviegoers and Filmmakers

3.2.1 Filmmakers

Research into the meanings of marathi cinema for filmmakers reveals three areas that create or contain this relevance. These are: language, tradition and personal motivation.

The central and defining characteristic of Marathi cinema is language. Marathi as a communication medium has the highest priority of individual importance for moviegoers and filmmakers. In the interviews it was repeatedly emphasized that the decisive factor for identifying with Marathi cinema is the mother tongue. Language is used to convey or communicate meaning. Filmmakers intend to communicate thoughts, feelings, problems or messages through their films. Marathi as a mother tongue enables this meaning to be transferred with the greatest possible differentiation and precision. The best possible transmission of intent is said to be in one's own mother tongue33 ) reachable. K. said what drives him to make films is the urge to "tell something"34 in an unconventional way. Shooting films in his native language Marathi enables him to articulate himself in a non-conventional way and at the same time to anchor his films regionally: "If you want to say something in a not very conventional way then you can definitely say it in your regional language." (K., 23.03.2008) His own mother tongue is very important for K., as it is the most accessible communication medium for him. He strives for great language precision in his films and makes extensive use of the subtleties and differentiated expressive possibilities of language.

There is less need for two other Marathi filmmakers (A. and K.) that I interviewed to make films in Marathi. They did not formulate the exclusivity to use Marathi as a film language. A., who is actually an architect and at the time of our interview shortly before shooting his first film35 believes it is necessary for every director to make his first film in his mother tongue. A. sees communication in Marathi as the optimal transmission of feelings and experiences. The urge to express emotions in his own mother tongue is a prerequisite for him to make Marathi films:

»A Marathi film needs film makers - I hope like me - who want to tell the people in their own language, in our own style, in our own language, with our own emotions, the same feelings that any world cinema projects us. See, emotion is devoid of language. A message is devoid of language, actually. Just like music is. Music doesn't have a language. It passes borders; it does not need to have a language as such. It needs to come away, a feeling, or an experience. I look the same way at films, so I want to tell it in my own way; I want to do it in Marathi in my own way. «(A., 23.03.2008)

Because of his job - A. also works in the field of film distribution - he has a great enthusiasm for regional film culture. He expressed his admiration for the "film fathers" of Maharashtra and their early works. So it is of great relevance for him to make a contribution to the development of this film culture with his film:

"If you are a film maker you have to contribute. It is not just your personal expression, it is not just a story, it is not just a film that you're making. You're contributing to the medium. Once a film is made it's there in history forever, whether it is good or bad. (...) It is carved in history forever. So that has to be quality. «(A., 23.03.2008)

This is where the aspect of tradition I mentioned earlier comes into play: the admiration or enthusiasm for the rich film history in which you have participated as a Marathi film director in Maharashtra and to which you yourself contribute. That, too, has relevance for the filmmakers I spoke to.


1 Marathi is an Indo-European language that has its roots in Sanskrit. Persian influences were particularly evident in the period from the middle of the 13th to the end of the 18th century. With the arrival of the British in India in the 17th century there was contact with English. Influences of language on Marathi can be found in R. Singh and Lele (1989).

2 I emphasize that the insights I offer are possible interpretations and results of my subjective perception and observation in a specific temporal and spatial context. Other observations allow other interpretations.

3 On the use of questions about the “how” and “why” in ethnographic work, see Katz (2001).

4 In the following, “cinema tradition” describes the genesis of cinema from its beginnings to the present day and the related areas of distribution, reception and production. "Genesis" expressly does not designate an evolutionary thought construct which is based on a constant "higher development", but merely refers to a temporal sequence.

5 On the subject of identity, see also Stuart Hall (1992).

6 Assmann divides this into “individual” and “personal identity”, the former referring to the “corporeality of existence and its basic needs” (it should be noted that this also includes physical attributes) and the latter “social recognition and Responsibility of the individual «means (Assmann 2007: 132).

7 "The awareness of social belonging, which we call 'collective identity', is based on the participation in a common knowledge and memory, which is conveyed by speaking a common language or, more generally, the use of a common system of symbols." (Assmann2007: 139)

8 For investigations, especially of personal identity, see, for example, Erving Goffman (1967) and Richard Jenkins (2006).

9 The instability or variability of identities is also one of Thomas Blom Hansen's basic assumptions (cf. Hansen 2002: 2).

10 Debra Spitulnik (1993) gives a brief but extensive overview of the ethnological debates with the mass media.

11 In the following, I use “film” to refer to the cinema film, unless explicitly stated otherwise. I leave out the television film and the relationship between television film and cinema film. For research on television in India, I refer to Monteiro (1998) and Mankekar (1993, 2002).

12 A definition of this term can be found in Spitulnik: “Mass media - defined in the conventional sense as the electronic media of radio, television, film, and recorded music, and the print media of newspapers, magazines, and popular literature - are at once artifacts , experiences, practices, and processes. They are economically and politically driven, linked to developments in science and technology, ..., their existence is inextricably boundup with the use of language. "(Spitulnik 1993: 293)

13 The quotation also shows why the frequently used term "popular culture" is rejected by the authors. The concept of popular culture also requires a dichotomous addition. For problematizations of the concept of "popular culture" see Burke (1981) and S. Hall (1981); for a link between the term and the theme of Indian cinema in particular, see Chatterjee (2008).

14 The authors argue that from the late 20th century onwards, cultural forms began to spread around the world. You call these globally migrating cultural forms »cosmopolitan cultural forms« (Appadurai / Breckenridge 1988: 5). These cosmopolitan forms are shaped in the different cultural contexts by "own cultural stamps" (ibid. - transl. A.S.). Due to this migration of cultural forms made possible by globalization, a whole area of ​​cultural debate would arise and not just a new cultural phenomenon (cf. ibid .: 6). The term “public culture” encompasses this entire “zone” (ibid. - transl. A.S.) of the disputes and in particular also integrates processes of globalization (cf. Pinney 2001: 8). “Popular culture” is another term that occurs frequently to denote mass media forms of culture. I decided against using this term because it suggests that I would exclude non-popular medial forms. Perspective and context play a role here. With regard to the context of my research, the question would arise whether Marathi cinema can be considered popular compared to pan-Indian Hindi cinema?

15 Geertz, about whose writing style David MacDougall writes: “This is ethnographic realism of the sort Clifford Geertz has called> transparencies

16 I differentiate between generalization and generalization: Generalization is a permissible process for me, because by generalization I understand the procedure of drawing conclusions from the (subjective) observation of a detail to a whole, within a local and temporal framework. For Augé, the process of generalization in ethnology is a permissible and necessary one: “We must indeed know what those with whom we speak and who we see tell us about those with whom we do not speak and who we do not see. «(Augé 1994: 19) This expresses the demand to infer the whole from the individual.

17 For a critical reflection on the method, I refer to chapter 2.2.3 of the present work.

18 The problem of the term »middle class« is dealt with in Chapter 2.1.3.

19 I have partly grammatically corrected excerpts from the interviews I have conducted, which I quote as quotations within this work. I only made such corrections in cases in which the incorrect grammar threatened to obscure the meaning of the statement. During the correction, I took great care not to falsify the meaning of the statement through the change.

20 “Prabhät Talkies” is used as a synonym.

21 As Gregory Bateson rightly writes, the term "meaning" is a "slippery one" (Bateson 1981: 185). Under "meaning" I subsume all aspects relating to the Prabha and the Marathi films that my informants have named as "important" to them.

22 At the time of my stay, 60 Indian rupees was about one euro.

23 It is the 1932 film by US director Rouben Mamoulian.

24 L. Srinivas shows that the sale of a cinema in India has a strong impact on the reputation and reputation of the cinema: "The> House Full

25 During our stay there was a retrospective dedicated to the director, producer and actor Dada Khanderao Kondke (1932-1998) (Fig. 13). Narwekar characterizes Kondke's films in the following way: "His films are generally characterized by their robust rustic humor with much innuendo and have found approval with audiences in rural areas." (Narwekar 1994: 153)

26 Here I would like to point out a difficulty in my field research: The first visitors arrive about three quarters of an hour before the start of the film. In this short period of time there was usually no opportunity to talk about the occupation, income or social origin of the visitors. I see the limitations of personal information as a major deficit in my research. For this reason I stick to the not very meaningful term "middle class", which strictly speaking does not mean more than that cinema-goers neither suffer from poverty nor have special financial opportunities.

27 I refer once again to the threefold structure of the research group mentioned in the introduction and ask not to confuse the term »producer« with the profession of film producer, but to read it in the meaning of its Latin etymology.

28 I do not understand reception as a passive reception of the material depicted on the canvas. This comment should already be made at this point, although it becomes clear in the course of the text that the audience is actively receiving it in my research context. Appadurai and Breckenridge write: "[T] he consumers of mass-mediated cultural forms are agents and actors, not merely objects and recipients." , but rather as a person who, while seeing, is constantly busy checking what has been seen and placing it in context with previous experiences (cf. MacDougall 2006: 24f.).

29 At the time of our arrival in Pune, K. was represented at the Berlinale in the »Berlinale Shorts« category with a short film in Marathi. In the same category, his friend and fellow student Siddharth Sinha showed the bhojpuri-language film »Udedh Bun« (2008), with which the latter won the Silver Bear at the »Berlinale Shorts«.

30 Ch. Is the stage name of the director. No first name can be found on his business card either.

31 Karishma T., Shraddha L., Dharmakirti S., Tanvi D., Gauri S., Dipti T. and I took part in the discussion.

32 As "Marathi" I refer to those who feel they belong to the Marathi culture. The designation should not be confused - at least not in this context - with the inhabitants of the historical Marathan Empire (see chapter "Historical digression").

33 "Mother tongue" (matr bhasa) is a term that has very complex levels of meaning, especially in Maharashtra. Bénéï comments on this: "The notion of> mother tongue

34 "Telling something that you want to say" (K., 23.03.2008).

35 At the center of his planned film is the protagonist Sunil, a city dweller who comes to a small village where a myth is circulating about a king who died hundreds of years ago. This king is present in a spiritual form and exercises rule over the people of the village and protects the residents. Sunil, who finds it difficult to believe this myth, begins to get to the bottom of this mystery and realizes that he has to start researching and questioning himself. “He needs to know, he needs to think about his ethical values, he needs to think about loyalty, about truth, about sacrifice. A lot of Indian virtues, which have been, let's say, past on from Gandhiji and all these people that your loyalty, your truth, your sacrifice holds a lot for your personal root. "(A., 23.03.2008) A. fasst the filmic content together: "The film is about our belief system." (A., 23.03.2008)

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