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Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film (Envisioning Asia) Paperback – 1 Jul 2002
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'Written in a clear and accessible style . . . It is also exceptionally well-illustrated . . . In extending their analysis to extra-filmic discourses, Dwyer and Patel show how movie imagery permeates into the wider culture and society.' --Film International
'A most welcome book . . . full of information and delightful illustrations of Hindi film stars and sets of major, even path-breaking productions, both in color and in black and white, that elicit nostalgic memories . . . a must read for Hindi film fans and for students and scholars in film studies and visual studies.' --Journal of Asian Studies
'A rich and substantive analysis . . . informative and interesting.'
--Contemporary South Asia
About the Author
Rachel Dwyer is a lecturer in Gujarati and Indian Studies at SOAS, University of London. Divia Patel is a curatorial assistant in the Indian and South-East Asian Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
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Though the West is just now beginning to take notice of Hindi language films produced in "Bollywood" (the Bombay studios that produce huge numbers of films every year), these films have been popular in half the world for many decades. I once met an Afghan woman who spoke pretty good Hindi/Urdu. It was before all the wars started, back in the 1970s. When I asked her how she happened to know Hindi, she said, "I've watched over 400 Hindi films !" My ESL students here on the North Shore of Boston, who hail from the former Soviet Union, all know a handful of Indian tunes from popular movies like Awaara and Shri 420 they saw long ago. Like it or not, popular Indian cinema has clout. If you are interested in the visual culture of Hindi films---the aesthetics, the settings, the music, the dances, the heroes and heroines, the advertising posters---you absolutely must read this book. It is written in easy-to-follow prose (i.e. tiresome post-modernist jargon at a minimum) and profusely illustrated with photographs and posters from Hindi film history. There are a number of books on Bollywood and its products, to be sure, but this must rank as one of the best. Anyone teaching a course on world cinema cannot afford to be unfamiliar with CINEMA INDIA. If Hindi films puzzle you with their over-the-top quality, read this book to know why they are that way.
And for the over-the-top price, you could probably afford a trip to India to evaluate the topic yourself!
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