Accepted Paper:

Automobility: Architecture and Cosmopolitanism in Chanakya  


Ipsita Sahu

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the auratic presence of the Chanakya theatre in the city of New Delhi.The paper will particularly focus on the architectural aspect of the experience of film- going and look at how it provided a cosmopolitan identity to the audience of Chanakya.

Paper long abstract:

The recently broken down Chanakya theatre in New Delhi, was the cultural hub of the city for almost three decades, during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Along a seven years protracted court battle, its slow demise to be replaced by a multiplex for the Commonwealth Games, was accompanied by much public dissent in the manner of media spectacle. As a result, an enormous archive of memoirs is now accessible online, from youtube television news reports, blog writings, and online newspaper interviews. From this end moment of public hysteria over the disappearance of the theatre, and taking cue from this affective landscape of audience reaction, for this panel I wish to move backwards and mimetically imagine the magical film going experience of Chanakya by a topographic mapping of the theater space as it stands today. The paper will examine film-spectatorship as an embodied practice to see what film-viewing entails on an experiential and everyday basis seen from an architectural viewpoint. I use the term 'automobility' as a holistic term to describe the distinct movie-going experience of Chanakya for its elite driving audience, garnering a cosmopolitanist identity for themselves as film-goers.

Panel P14
Social sense and embodied sensibility at the cinema: towards an aesthetics of film-going