Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema: A Visual Journey through the Heart of Bollywood

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Overview

"Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema is an insightful journey into the complex worlds of fantasy and reality inhabited by creative artistes. India is a unique country that exists in multiple centuries simultaneously. This book unravels the various mysteries and contradictions embedded in our centuries-old tradition. (…) Using defined sections and relevant case studies, the authors analyse the emotional ingredients that form the essence of India and Indian cinema." (Excerpt from the Foreword by Amitabh Bachchan)

Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema explores the inner world of Bombay film, the best known of India’s movie industries. Many aspects of Hindi cinema are brought to life on the pages of this richly illustrated book – from its beginnings to the present day. The use of songs to advertise movies, the role of censorship, devotion to god and family: these subjects and many more are illuminated. It reveals the symbolism of the divine role models Radha–Krishna and Ram–Sita at the heart of the main protagonists in many films, and the passion of the people working behind the scenes. It examines the changing face of the nation’s enemies, the marriage scene, lyricists and playback singers, and it sheds light on Tamil cinema, which rivals the Hindi film industry in output and popularity. The book concludes with an analysis of the mass appeal of Hindi film beyond India’s borders and the recent embrace of the much-hyped ‘Bollywood’ phenomenon in the West.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[I]t does offer a striking visual journey, and while the essays tend to take a backseat to the engaging graphic design, taken together they represent a helpful overview of the subject."

"The heavily-illustrated work imparts the carnivalesque style of the now globally popular Bollywood films of India--the exotic, often extravagant, costumes, the promotional stunts, the common themes such as traditional morality and romance and marriage, the blaring music, the theater and constant motion and sense of anticipation and surprise. In the foreword, Amitabh Bachchan explains the Bollywood films are "inspired by epic and folk theatre." In the early days of the films, movie moguls would send messengers with drums to announce a film's opening; like Indian royalty in ages past would have bells and drums sounded to call the public for an announcement. The often collage-like visual material is so vivid and jumpy that it can override the text. But for ones looking for material on the making and promotion of Bollywood films, social and religious subjects reflected in them, their distribution in the global entertainment system, and the marginal, yet influential Tamil cinema, it's found in substantive chapters by different writers knowledgeable in these areas. A timely, unique work on the Bollywood films whose mixed, yet focused content mirrors the mixed elements and vitality of such films."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789068321869
  • Publisher: KIT (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen)
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.96 (w) x 10.54 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Gayatri Chatterji began her professional life as a schoolteacher. She now teaches film studies in India and abroad. Her first book, Awaara, received the President’s Gold Medal in 1992. She wrote Mother India in 2002 for the British Film Institute’s ‘BFI Film Classics’ series. Penguin India also published both these titles. Several of her articles have been published in national and international journals. Gayatri sings Rabindrasangeet, the music composed by the Bengali poet, painter and singer Rabindranath Tagore.

Fareeda graduated in social sciences and studied film direction at the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. She directed her first feature film, Kali Salwaar, in 2001. It was shown at the international film festivals in India, Rotterdam and Gothenburg, among others. Her graduation film, Hawa Ka Rang, won first prize at the Turin Film Festival (1990) and was screened at various film festivals around the world. She has also worked on documentaries.

Deepa Gahlot is a freelance journalist, critic, columnist, author and editor. She has written on film, theatre, culture and women’s issues. She won the National Award for Film Criticism in 1998. Her work has appeared in anthologies of cinema writing and books on cinema. She has worked on documentaries, run a features syndicate, written film scripts, been a member of film-festival juries and script committees, worked for the radio and conducted workshops. At present, she edits the NFDC’s journal Cinema in India, Kodak’s Images and other publications. She has also written a book on the Bombay-based Prithvi Theatre.

Nasreen Munni Kabir is a documentary film-maker who has made several series and programmes on Hindi cinema for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, including Movie Mahal, Follow that Star (a profile of Amitabh Bachchan), Lata In Her Own Voice and How to Make a Bollywood Movie. In 2002, she produced and directed a documentary on the making of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams for BBC1. Nasreen is Channel 4’s consultant on Indian cinema and makes the selection for its annual twenty-part Indian film season. She has also written several books, including Guru Dutt – a Life in Cinema (1996), Talking Films with Javed Akhtar (1999) and Bollywood, the Indian Cinema Story (2000). Nasreen has just completed two documentaries on actor Shah Rukh Khan. She was born in India and has lived most of her life in London and Paris; she organised the first major Indian film festivals in France at the Georges Pompidou Centre in 1983 and 1985. Nasreen won the first Asian Women’s’ Achievement Award in 1999 for her work promoting Indian cinema in the UK, and is a governor on the board of the British Film Institute.

Johan Manschot graduate of the Kunstacademie (Art Academy), Utrecht, is an illustrator and a graphic designer. After travelling widely, he has increasingly specialised in Indian and Eastern design. He has assembled an impressive private collection of Indian film-related art that includes southern Indian film posters, records and photos. His passion for Indian film posters inspired the conception of this book. He is also establishing himself in the Netherlands as a graphic designer for Diesel jeans, Bijenkorf department store, the Tivoli venue, and the monthly MysticGrooves dance parties in Rasa and the Melkweg.

P.K. Nair archivist, film scholar and film festival consultant, has headed the National Film Archive of India in Pune for nearly three decades. He built it up from scratch to its present international status as one of the leading film archives in Asia. He played a leading role in developing film studies in India, and is an authority on Indian cinema. He has taught extensively in India and abroad, and has guided several research scholars through their doctoral theses on various aspects of the art form. He has served as jury member of several national and international film festivals, and continues to be actively involved in film archiving, and the training of young archivists, filmmakers and film critics. A dedicated film historian and film scholar, he has made an in-depth study of Indian silent cinema and written extensively on various aspects of the evolution of cinema in India.

Sudha Rajagopalan originally from Bombay, is a doctor in Russian/Soviet history at Indiana University (Bloomington) in the USA. Inspired by her own attachment to Indian films and the spontaneity and passion with which people in the former Soviet Union always engaged her on the subject, Rajagopalan was eager to document and analyse the pivotal role of these films in Soviet history. Her work investigates the function of Indian popular cinema in post-Stalinist Soviet society and is based on extensive ethnographic and archival research in Russia. She currently lives in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Brahmanand Singh is a Bombay-based writer and filmmaker. He has published stories, poems and essays in India and abroad, written screenplays, and made documentaries and short films. His films are typified by their lyrical qualities. Prominent among his documentaries are Ashgari Bai (Echoes of Silence, 1997), about a legendary octogenarian dhrupad Singer (dhrupad is a form of Indian classical music), and A Burden of Love (2004), about Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, he has made many commissioned corporate documentaries. His films have been screened at various international film festivals and on Doordarshan, the Indian national television network. He has directed and written for a number of television series. He studies Hindustani classical music from with Ustad Aslam Hussain Khan, a prominent contemporary musician, and has written a great deal on various music genres – from classical to popular cinema music.

Soudhamini is a film-maker, film scholar and critic from Chennai (Madras). She has made several documentaries, which include Saga of a Poet (2002) on the life and works of the poet Subramania Bharathi; a short film on education for India’s tribal peoples Going to school (2001); a mini-series for television on artists and patronage, The Invisible Flame (1997); and a feature-length documentary called Pitru Chayya: Shadows of our Forefather (1991), inspired by the classical musician M.D. Ramanathan. Soudhamini teaches at some of the premier filmstudy programmes in India, including that of her alma mater, the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.

Hadi Tehrani is a theatre-maker, film actor, critic and scriptwriter from Iran. He founded an experimental theatre school in the Iranian province Khorasan. Tehrani has lived for the last ten years in The Netherlandas as an asylum seeker.

Johan Manschot graduate of the Kunstacademie (Art Academy), Utrecht, is an illustrator and a graphic designer. After travelling widely, he has increasingly specialised in Indian and Eastern design. He has assembled an impressive private collection of Indian film-related art that includes southern Indian film posters, records and photos. His passion for Indian film posters inspired the conception of this book. He is also establishing himself in the Netherlands as a graphic designer for Diesel jeans, Bijenkorf department store, the Tivoli venue, and the monthly MysticGrooves dance parties in Rasa and the Melkweg.

Marijke de Vos graduate of the Rietveld Academie (Art Academy, Amsterdam), is a film programmer and theatre researcher. Since 1990 she programmed numerous Indian films – from the early years to the latest blockbusters and art films – for the annual Cinema India festival in the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam. She is an adviser on Indian cinema to organisations such as the Dutch broadcasting company NPS, public television and several cultural festivals. She has written on Indian cinema and given master classes, and lectures and introductions toon Indian cinema at the universities of Leiden, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. She is a member of the selection committee of the Jan Vrijman Fund for IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam).

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Table of Contents

Behind the Scenes of Hindi Cinema includes contributions by:
· Amitabh Bachchan o Foreword
· P.K. Nair o Publicity: traditional and new modes, the use of songbooks, songs, posters, billboards and the internet o Censorship: The Censor Certificate, from colonial till modern concerns
· Deepa Gahlot o Devotion, worship of God and family, the importance of a blessing at the start of a film and the muhurat o Banners of Production: the companies and their images o Credits: main characters in Hindi Films: hero, heroine, villain, vamp and mother, director, playback singer, composer, lyricist and choreographer
· Gayatri Chatterjee o Entertainment & Escapism: old and new utopia’s and the urge to escape o Marriage Scenes: about marriages, marriage signs, triangles and divine love
· Marijke de Vos o Mythology & Folklore, who is who among the Gods. The Gods omnipresence in Indian Cinema
· Fareeda o The Divine Couples Ram – Sita and Radha - Krishna as role models o The Enemy: changing image of the enemy from colonial times till today
· Brahmanand Singh o Songs: a short song history with some of the most classic Hindi film songs
· Soudhamini o Tamil Cinema: the significant other: inspiration and confrontation
· Hadi Tehrani o Distribution: Hindi Films and Iran
· Sudha Rajagopalan o Distribution: Soviet Fans and Hindi Cinema
· Nasreen Munni Kabir o Distribution: The branding of Bollywood, Hindi Cinema in the west
· Marijke de Vos o Review: Critics, Audiences, Box Office and Awards
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 22, 2009

    the lively, colorful world of Bollywood

    The heavily-illustrated work imparts the carnivalesque style of the now globally popular Bollywood films of India--the exotic, often extravagant, costumes, the promotional stunts, the common themes such as traditional morality and romance and marriage, the blaring music, the theater and constant motion and sense of anticipation and surprise. In the foreword, Amitabh Bachchan explains the Bollywood films are 'inspired by epic and folk theatre.' In the early days of the films, movie moguls would send messengers with drums to announce a film's opening like Indian royalty in ages past would have bells and drums sounded to call the public for an announcement. The often collage-like visual material is so vivid and jumpy that it can override the text. But for ones looking for material on the making and promotion of Bollywood films, social and religious subjects reflected in them, their distribution in the global entertainment system, and the marginal, yet influential Tamil cinema, it's found in substantive chapters by different writers knowledgeable in these areas. A timely, unique work on the Bollywood films whose mixed, yet focused content mirrors the mixed elements and vitality of such films.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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