Hong Kong action film and popular culture
Popular Print
Martial arts

The Context
Fan Clubs
Film Hoardings

Cinema Halls
Film Publicity

Related Articles
Hong Kong Action Film in the Indian B Circuit
Film Culture
Cinema Reloaded
Devotion & Defiance in Fan Activity

Hong Kong Action Film
at the Frontiers of Cinema
CSCS - Centre for the Study of Culture and Society

This website is a part of a larger project that looks at the circulation of the Hong Kong action films in India to understand the social and political space occupied by the cinema in India. The circulation of the Hong Kong film in India presents an interesting set of problems for the study of not only Indian as well as Hong Kong cinemas but also for film theory in general. The career of the Hong Kong action film in India demonstrates that the object of critical analysis is not merely the individual film text or even a genre but the institution of the cinema and its imbrication with other constituents of the public domain. This is at once a study of Indian audiences’ engagement with the cinema and simultaneously an examination of the Indian film industry—distribution and exhibition sectors in particular.

The project focusses on Andhra Pradesh since the 1980s. Andhra Pradesh is the largest market for film (included imported film) in India. In this part of the country, as in the neighbouring south Indian states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka, the cinema has a long history of association with the politics of linguistic identity. One obvious manifestation is the presence of highly organized fans’ associations of film stars, which continuously reminds us that films here are more than ‘only entertainment.’ Hong Kong film stars do not have fans’ associations in Andhra Pradesh. The index of the popularity of the Hong Kong action film in India is not the missing fans’ association but its huge success in what I call the ‘B circuit’ or the lowest rungs of the distribution and exhibition chains. The B circuit circulation of Hong Kong action film coupled with its direct implication in the emergence of new forms of popular literature, but more importantly the obvious linkages between Hong Kong martial arts films and martial arts academies, points to the strong roots sprung by the import in India. This, of course, is fairly obvious. The question however is: what kind of an entity is the cinema in India? The objective of this website is to demonstrate the breadth of this question.

This site is conceived by S.V.Srinivas who is a Fellow at Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore.

Hong Kong action film and popular culture
Popular culture in Andhra Pradesh is replete with examples of quotations of and references to the Hong the Kong action film. To name these gestures to the Hong Kong film as influence is to foreclose the relationship between local popular cultures and the import.

Bhadrachalam Popular Print Martial arts  

The Context
The context in which films are watched in Andhra Pradesh tells us a great deal about what Miriam Hansen calls the ‘social dimension’ of cinema.

Fan Clubs Film Hoardings  

The B Circuit
Jet Li Comes to Madanapalle
It is in the B circuit that the imbrication of the Hong Kong action film with local film cultures becomes evident. ‘B circuit’ is the label I give to the segment of distribution and exhibition sectors that is characterized by low levels of investment. Further, this segment is characterized by repeated interventions by both distributors and exhibitors, which results in the de-standardization of a film’s status as an industrial product.

Cinema Halls Distributors Film Publicity