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200 × 150 × 20 mm
296 pages
87 illustrations
01 May 2014

Bollywood’s India Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India Rachel Dwyer

Bollywood movies have long been known for their colourful song-and-dance numbers and knack of combining drama, comedy, action-adventure and music. But these films rarely reflect the reality of life on the Indian subcontinent. In this book Rachel Dwyer argues that Hindi cinema’s interpretations of India over the last two decades are our most reliable guide to understanding the nation’s changing hopes and dreams.

Bollywood’s India looks at the ways in which Bollywood has imagined and portrayed the unity and diversity of India: what its people believe and feel; their views on religion, caste and politics; life at home and in public. Based on twenty years of watching, teaching and writing about Hindi films, working with filmmakers and discussions with critics and fans, Dwyer’s book has much to say to scholars and students of Indian cinema who are curious about the ways in which aspects of Indian life and culture are shown on screen, as well as to the general reader and fan of world cinema.

Bollywood’s India offers an interesting read for observing changes in India through Bollywood films with themes such as unity, diversity, religion, emotions and homeworld . . . This book is highly recommended to those who are interested in exploring modern India and her Indianness through Hindi films, but it also gives a background to the changes that have emerged over the years to build what India is today and alludes to what it might become tomorrow.’ — South Asian Popular Culture

Bollywood’s India examines the importance of Hindi Cinema over the last two decades and how it can help us to interpret the social aspects of India as we know it today. Be it religion, human behaviour as well as social, political and economic issues which have affected the country in recent years Dwyer looks at how all these have been depicted in Hindi films and the important link between films and reality . . . This is a must for any movie buff that is curious in obtaining a more critical understanding of Bollywood and its important connection to India as a nation.’ — Bollyspice.com

‘Professor Rachel Dwyer . . . has compiled a perfect primer meant for the newly enamoured neophyte . . . She convinces us to remain hooked on Bollywood cinema’s fictions as a modern mythology that conjoins the various epics, fables, and legends that together constitute the rich cultural foundations of the subcontinent.’ — Popmatters

Bollywood’s India never loses its critical perspective and the author successfully combines scholarly criticism with her own personal reflections, experiences and passion for the Indian films discussed in the book, which makes it a delightful read . . . an important and valuable aspect of this book is that it is as much about India, as it is about Indian cinema, making it a great source book for anyone interested in India and its cultures.’ — Viewfinder

‘This superb book is everything we could have expected from a major authority on India cinema. It shows both how India has shaped Bollywood and Bollywood has shaped the Indian imagination. It will be indispensable for scholars and a delight for the general reader.’ — Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University

‘The book is refreshingly written in clear language for a general audience. Dwyer infuses her academic and theoretical arguments with an array of pertinent examples, which make a very interesting read. The films Dwyer chooses to examine come from a wide variety, from popular films that have received scant scholarly attention to the hatke. Not only does Dwyer show how these films have been influenced by Indian culture but also how Indian culture has been shaped through Bollywood. This book is a welcome addition to the field and will remain a key text.'’ — South Asia Research

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Rachel Dwyer is Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema at SOAS, University of London. She is the author of Filming the Gods: Religion and Indian Cinema (2006) and Bollywood's India: Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India (Reaktion, 2014). And, with Divia Patel Cinema India: The Visual Culture of Hindi Film (Reaktion, 2002)

1. Unity: The Nation, Its History and Trans-nationalism
2. Diversity: Region, Caste and Class
3. Religion: Myths, Beliefs and Practices
4. Emotions: Sadness, Anger and Happiness
5. Home: Romance, Love and the Family
6. The World: Education, Work and Lifestyle
7. Agneepath/The Path of Fire, 1990-2012
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