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Curated Desires: Intersections of low-grade cinema, migration, and gentrification in Mumbai

Titus, Nikhil Thomas (2023) Curated Desires: Intersections of low-grade cinema, migration, and gentrification in Mumbai. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My dissertation examines the entanglements of cinema, infrastructure, technology, and low-income audiences at sites such as video parlors, rundown single-screen theatres, and download centers. I deploy theories of fandom, technology, and labor with examinations of morality and social hygiene, along with media reports on low-grade cinemas to demonstrate how imaginations of cinephilia, disease, and urban decay become associated and contested. Using a combination of film analysis, ethnography, and cultural analysis of paratexts, along with colonial and contemporary city planning and labor histories, I explore the relevance of a low-grade low-budget cinema, and a low-income audience sidelined in policy considerations around political, economic, and cultural concerns. Challenging accounts of poor creativity and unproductivity, I use audience responses along with analysis of films to argue that they represent the common desires and rights that are denied to a vast number of dwellers perceived as cheap and expendable labor for the city. My chapters, Cinemas of Almost Nothing, The Quest for Inclusion, and The Exceedingly Forgettable, showcase how cinemas counter the lure of work and wages with the prospect of expanding the capacity to imagine self, citizenship, and the city as habitable.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Titus, Nikhil Thomasnit33@pitt.edunit33
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMajumdar,
Committee MemberHalle,
Committee MemberClift,
Committee MemberHorton,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 July 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 26 July 2023
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 206
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Film Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: low-grade, film, single-screen, video parlors, mobile download canters, creativity, labor, low-income, low-budget, migration, theaters, Mumbai, urban space, fandom, cinephilia,
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2023 01:24
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2023 01:24


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