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January 30, 2004

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Sanyat Sattar

The Indian Film Industry, (Bollywood), has become one of the largest film industries in the world, producing over 800 films a year. Today, Bollywood attracts over one billion spectators worldwide. Here are three books that give an insight into the exciting world of Bollywood.


Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema
Lalit Mohan Joshi (Editor) Gulzar, Shyam Benegal, Derek Malcolm
Dakini Books, Inc.; September 2002

Written by Gulzar, Shyam Benegal, Lalit Mohan Joshi, among many other experts on the Industry, Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema is the ultimate guide to the most popular of Indian cinema. A gripping analysis of the last 100 years is provided by the book's editor, Lalit Mohan Joshi. It covers the long Indian film history including rarely seen images from film archives together with those by leading photographers. This is the one book that every Hindi movie lover should own. It celebrates what is now a far-reaching and world-renowned cultural phenomenon with 400 pages of the most spectacular photographs, the stories of the stars who make the films, in-depth stories of every great Hindi film and its context, unmatched production quality and brilliant writing.

Bollywood Dreams
Jonathan Torgovnik
Phaidon Press Inc.; March 2003

In Bollywood Dreams Jonathan Torgovnik explores the beloved pastime of an Indian population of over one billion. Paying tribute to stars, film makers, technicians and moviegoers, Bollywood Dreams puts a human face on the fantastical, spectacle-rich films that compels as many as fourteen million people to the cinema on a single day in India alone. Divided into thematic chapters, the entire spectrum of Indian cinema is covered, from the vibrant colours and the expansive settings of the film sets, to the glamorous stars and audience. Bollywood Dreams takes the reader behind the scenes and to the movie theatres of bustling Mumbai as well as the makeshift travelling cinemas that tour from village to village.

Bollywood Boy
Justine Hardy
John Murray Pubs Ltd; September 2003

Hardy's tale of fame and fortune in India's Bollywood sheds light on the subcontinent's obsessive adulation of its own tinsel town. Each year India makes twice the number of pictures produced in Hollywood to feed a billion-strong domestic audience united in their hunger for "maximum escapism and minimum reality." The fantastic productions follow a rigid, strictly censored story line that substitutes Hollywood-style sex and violence with elaborate song and dance numbers. Using the "newest, biggest and brightest star in the Bollywood firmament," Hrithik Roshan, as a model, Hardy gives the reader a personal, discursive tour of this over-the-top world of Indian film culture, from the swanky Bombay club scene to the street side chai-stalls (tea-stalls). She reveals the Bollywood-Indian mafia connection, where stars sign away future profits in exchange for lavish premier parties or production investments (Hrithik's father was shot for refusing to pay off Bollywood's "Big Brother"). Although Hardy's narrative is sometimes as dizzyingly detailed as a Bollywood dance sequence, both Indian film enthusiasts and neophytes will laugh at this look at Hollywood's whirling parallel universe.




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