In this exhibition sector, the A circuit consists of centrally located, well-maintained and usually air-conditioned cinema halls in large towns and cities where new Telugu, Hindi and English films are released. The industry itself categorizes cinema halls by location, facilities offered, etc.
There are obvious markers of the B circuit - the condition of cinema halls, the levels of comfort, and the investment in technology. Historically speaking, badly maintained cinema halls are the rule rather than the exception and for over half a century film journals have served as forums for airing grievances of viewers about the conditions of film seeing and the demands for reform in this area. It would therefore be more correct to say that the A-circuit as we know it today came into prominence in the 1970s with the growing spread of air-conditioning in newly constructed new cinema halls aimed at an urban middle class audience. The process is directly aimed at excluding the lower class audiences through increasing admission rates and reducing the number of seats in the lower stalls. The uniformly high prices in multiplexes would be the logical culmination of this process.
The B cinema hall would be one which is not only badly maintained (poor sound and projection, uncomfortable seats, not starting films on time) but also where one can expect to see sexually explicit sequences spliced in and other forms of tampering with films. Evidently, audiences here are more or less left to their own devices, and are free to indulge in all modes of excesses. How does the A circuit cinema hall avoid this state of affairs? Under these prevailing conditions, segments of the exhibition sector actually take on the burden of creating standardized and stable conditions of reception. ‘Management’ - or the efficient organisation of exhibition spaces - is here a key concept for the industry, since it now includes a variety of practices that produce such conditions. At the very outset, management involves maximization of revenue, not only from ticket sales but also from paid parking spaces, food and drink sales etc. But ‘management’ here also extends to cultural practices involving ‘disciplining’ viewers in rather direct ways.