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Icons from Bollywood
Icons from Bollywood
Description
Foreword

Cinema Came to Mumbai in 1896 just three years after its invention. What began as a technological novelty for the wonderment of the city elite became, in course of time, the most popular form of entertainment in our country. In the last few decades, the Indian film industry has grown to become the largest film producer in the world. The popularity of cinema remains undiminished despite the massive competition from the even faster-growing medium, television, with its many of channels offering a variety of programmes that people can access in their own homes. In fact, cinema increased its audience reach via television.

It is in the nature of cinema to create larger-than-life characters and situations, turn actors into supra human 'stars'. Even powerful politicians green with envy (some actors have used this to become politicians themselves). Their popularity far exceeds that of anyone else in arts and entertainment, with the possible exception of some cricket players.

What makes a film star such a magnet for people? Perhaps it is the imaginative and emotional connection that people make with a film star, a phenomenon that is hard to explain. Individuals in other fields gain eminence because the work they do has a tangible impact on the lives of people-scientists, architects, engineers, doctors, politicians, social reformers, teachers, religious savants, poets, musicians, writers and so on. But they do not have the same 'star' quality, they do not seem to glitter and shine in the manner in which film actors and occasionally directors or composers or lyricists do. Film stars shine brighter because of the virtual reality that cinema creates, with them as pivots. They are integral to the fantasies of the collective consciousness. Cinematic experience often goes deeper than any conscious experience. Popular cinema offers wish-fulfilling dreams peopled with heroes who can be easily identified with by the audience. Films reflect people's aspirations and offer a chance to live a different life in the privacy of darkened cinema halls or in their own imagination. Many actors, being such an integral part of people's lives, become legends in their own lifetimes and the curiosity to know everything about them is so great that, today, even mainstream newspapers carry stories about them on their front pages.

Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri profiles fifteen of the most enduring icons of Hindi cinema. It is written with enthusiasm and warmth and is informative in the way that devotees of popular cinema would enjoy. It is a worthwhile addition to books on some of the best practitioners of Hindi cinema who continue to hold us in thrall. It tells you everything you wanted to know about them….well, not quite everything.

Preface

In the Ninety years since the first Indian film Raja Harishchandra was released, the Indian film industry has grown to become the largest in the world with an annual output of over 800 films. For good or for bad, the Hindi film industry has become the most visible face of Indian films all over the world, more so in the last decade. Love it, hate it, but it is impossible to ignore it. He word 'Bollywood', for all its derisive connotation, is now as instantly recognized as its more famous American counterpart, Hollywood. And it is being increasingly realized that Hindi films, with their own internal mechanism, the heady mix of song and dance and masala, their undeniable entertainment value, are more than just copycat versions of Hollywood films.

The icons discussed in this book have played a stellar role in giving Hindi films their place of pride in the world entertainment industry. If today Hindi films are creating a buzz all over the world, it is in no small measure thanks to the contributions of these and other icons like these.

Even as one lists fifteen icons of the industry, one is aware that there are many others being unjustly left out. In fact, every person asked to make such a list will probably come up with fifteen entirely different names. To encapsulate and reduce ninety years of film-making, with its hundreds of stars and directors and technicians into fifteen essays is impossible. Probably even a hundred essays would leave out quite a few important contributors. Allowing for an element of subjectivity and favouritism, I have tried to include those whom I feel have set trends for others to follow, benchmarks for others to aspire to. They may not have always been successful, but what they have achieved is unparalleled and has influenced the working of the industry. I have tried to include in my list people whose contribution incorporates various aspects of film-making-the director, the writer, the singer, the musician and of course the most visible fact of a film, the actor.

I would like to thank Sayoni Basu of Penguin Books India for first broaching the prospect of doing a book like this, Sudeshna for editing it and Sakshi for her remedial insights. I am immensely grateful to Shyam Benegal for agreeing to write the 'Foreword' –it is an honour. Thanks are due to my parents for their support and to my brother Atanu for long-distance encouragement. Jayanta da and Tutun di, how do I ever thank you? Above all, I would like to acknowledge the blessings of my guru maa without which not a single line would have been possible.

Contents

Forewordvii
Prefaceix
1Dilip Kumar1
2Dev Anand13
3Raj Kapoor23
4Guru Dutt33
5Kishore Kumar43
6Nargis57
7Yash Chopra65
8Madhubala75
9Rahul Dev Burman83
10Rajesh Khanna95
11Amitabh Bachchan105
12Javed Akhtar119
13Hema Malini129
14Aamir Khan137
15Shah Rukh Khan149

Icons from Bollywood

Item Code:
IDK396
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2005
Publisher:
ISBN:
0143334913
Size:
7.8" X 5.0"
Pages:
158 (15 B/W Illustrations)
Price:
$16.50
Discounted:
$13.20   Shipping Free
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Foreword

Cinema Came to Mumbai in 1896 just three years after its invention. What began as a technological novelty for the wonderment of the city elite became, in course of time, the most popular form of entertainment in our country. In the last few decades, the Indian film industry has grown to become the largest film producer in the world. The popularity of cinema remains undiminished despite the massive competition from the even faster-growing medium, television, with its many of channels offering a variety of programmes that people can access in their own homes. In fact, cinema increased its audience reach via television.

It is in the nature of cinema to create larger-than-life characters and situations, turn actors into supra human 'stars'. Even powerful politicians green with envy (some actors have used this to become politicians themselves). Their popularity far exceeds that of anyone else in arts and entertainment, with the possible exception of some cricket players.

What makes a film star such a magnet for people? Perhaps it is the imaginative and emotional connection that people make with a film star, a phenomenon that is hard to explain. Individuals in other fields gain eminence because the work they do has a tangible impact on the lives of people-scientists, architects, engineers, doctors, politicians, social reformers, teachers, religious savants, poets, musicians, writers and so on. But they do not have the same 'star' quality, they do not seem to glitter and shine in the manner in which film actors and occasionally directors or composers or lyricists do. Film stars shine brighter because of the virtual reality that cinema creates, with them as pivots. They are integral to the fantasies of the collective consciousness. Cinematic experience often goes deeper than any conscious experience. Popular cinema offers wish-fulfilling dreams peopled with heroes who can be easily identified with by the audience. Films reflect people's aspirations and offer a chance to live a different life in the privacy of darkened cinema halls or in their own imagination. Many actors, being such an integral part of people's lives, become legends in their own lifetimes and the curiosity to know everything about them is so great that, today, even mainstream newspapers carry stories about them on their front pages.

Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri profiles fifteen of the most enduring icons of Hindi cinema. It is written with enthusiasm and warmth and is informative in the way that devotees of popular cinema would enjoy. It is a worthwhile addition to books on some of the best practitioners of Hindi cinema who continue to hold us in thrall. It tells you everything you wanted to know about them….well, not quite everything.

Preface

In the Ninety years since the first Indian film Raja Harishchandra was released, the Indian film industry has grown to become the largest in the world with an annual output of over 800 films. For good or for bad, the Hindi film industry has become the most visible face of Indian films all over the world, more so in the last decade. Love it, hate it, but it is impossible to ignore it. He word 'Bollywood', for all its derisive connotation, is now as instantly recognized as its more famous American counterpart, Hollywood. And it is being increasingly realized that Hindi films, with their own internal mechanism, the heady mix of song and dance and masala, their undeniable entertainment value, are more than just copycat versions of Hollywood films.

The icons discussed in this book have played a stellar role in giving Hindi films their place of pride in the world entertainment industry. If today Hindi films are creating a buzz all over the world, it is in no small measure thanks to the contributions of these and other icons like these.

Even as one lists fifteen icons of the industry, one is aware that there are many others being unjustly left out. In fact, every person asked to make such a list will probably come up with fifteen entirely different names. To encapsulate and reduce ninety years of film-making, with its hundreds of stars and directors and technicians into fifteen essays is impossible. Probably even a hundred essays would leave out quite a few important contributors. Allowing for an element of subjectivity and favouritism, I have tried to include those whom I feel have set trends for others to follow, benchmarks for others to aspire to. They may not have always been successful, but what they have achieved is unparalleled and has influenced the working of the industry. I have tried to include in my list people whose contribution incorporates various aspects of film-making-the director, the writer, the singer, the musician and of course the most visible fact of a film, the actor.

I would like to thank Sayoni Basu of Penguin Books India for first broaching the prospect of doing a book like this, Sudeshna for editing it and Sakshi for her remedial insights. I am immensely grateful to Shyam Benegal for agreeing to write the 'Foreword' –it is an honour. Thanks are due to my parents for their support and to my brother Atanu for long-distance encouragement. Jayanta da and Tutun di, how do I ever thank you? Above all, I would like to acknowledge the blessings of my guru maa without which not a single line would have been possible.

Contents

Forewordvii
Prefaceix
1Dilip Kumar1
2Dev Anand13
3Raj Kapoor23
4Guru Dutt33
5Kishore Kumar43
6Nargis57
7Yash Chopra65
8Madhubala75
9Rahul Dev Burman83
10Rajesh Khanna95
11Amitabh Bachchan105
12Javed Akhtar119
13Hema Malini129
14Aamir Khan137
15Shah Rukh Khan149
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