Fragmented Frames (Reflections of a Critic)

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Item Code: IDK471
Author: Bhawana Somaaya
Publisher: Pustak Mahal
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788122310160
Pages: 220 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.2" X 6.2"
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Book Description

More than 100 years ago when cinema still had to evolve, it was no mean task to get the audience accustomed to the phenomena of moving images. It is said that there wee strange reactions amongst the audience when the first film was screened. While many rushed out of the theatre on the sight of a train approaching a platform, in some other parts of the world, the audience suspected that the theatre was haunted by evil spirits.

Understandably, filmmaking in olden days was not an easy task and people from respectable families refrained from the world of make-believe.

In the late seventies when I became a film journalist, nobody remotely intelligent wanted to be associated with film journalism. The mainstream media considered it below their dignity to feature private lives of celebrities, and the glossies who did so were described 'yellow' journals.

The discrimination continued all through the eighties. Then sometime in the nineties, one still doesn't know why but it became mandatory for leading newspapers to devote a full colour feature to the dream merchants. Initially devised as a respite from the regular serious stories, the readers slowly got hooked on to the trivia involving show business!

Come 2000 and entertainment had consumed the common man. From stray features on news glaze pages on weekends, it had invaded the front-page headlines. Suddenly, the average reader was familiar with not just the superstars but also the business of entertainment. As the budgets of mega movies got bigger and merchandising became the new mantra, writing on cinema transformed into a serious profession.

In the millennium there is a newfound respect for the film critic.

O more is the film critic treated like a pariah or his brand of writing termed 'yellow'. Now he has new epithets like 'trade analyst' and 'historian' added to his by-line and film buffs pause on their remotes to listen to his expert comments on TV channels. Interestingly, even those not directly involved with film trade are well acquainted with jargons like box-office collection and world right distribution. At cocktail circuits everyone has an opinion on everything connected to movies, be it reviews, international film festivals or panel discussions.

The splendour of cinema is all around and it is no longer possible to escape its connecting media. Unlike 100 years ago when nobody respectable wanted to be a part of the film world, today, everybody, everywhere is obsessed with movies, Hindi films in particular!

Unknown artistes, nouveau writers and self-taught technicians with no film background or experience have crowded the market and are being encouraged by corporate houses. In present times, the cinegoer is akin to a critic and invests his hard-earned money in collecting expensive film memorabilia. The change is everywhere. More and more University students both abroad and in our country are opting for Hindi cinema as a subject for their thesis.

Fragmented Frames is an effort to applaud that shift in attitude. The book is a collection of heartfelt essays on varied aspects of cinema ranging from mythology, theatre, television, superstition, children, marriage and mental-health to premier culture, literature, sex scandals, legendary controversies and more. There are intimate chronicles of love and heartbreaks of prominent personalities and also thought-provoking features on personal and social tragedies like the fire eruption on the sets of Black and bomb blast at Plaza Theatre in Mumbai.

The book elaborates on film festivals like IFFI, Osians, MAMI, Cannes and holds a mirror to superstars and government bodies when they falter. Besides Hindi films, there are glimpses of success stories down South and the new emerging multiplex culture. At time subjective, at times reflecting on larger issues, the book is a documentation of dramatic times, a salute to the fascinating medium of moving images. It is an effort to record the changing times and shift in attitudes of dream merchants.

From the Jacket

Most books delving on the genesis and growth of cinema all over the world and more so in India somehow end up becoming a boring account of detailed events, which though informative are often exhaustive and worse, make a tedious read.

Fragmented Frames is the complete opposite. The book is a collection of enchanting and introspective essays on the madness and magic of show business. It travels you through varied subjects and phases of the dream world.

It is a compassionate comment on what we see on the big screen and in many instances what goes on behind the scenes. It is about Hindi cinema no doubt. But it is also about the author, Bhawana Somaaya, her insight and observations about the creative people and the medium. The myths and the legends, the romances and the overwhelming anxieties… It is a rare and a compassionate book on the love of cinema, which is original and also thought-provoking.

I wasn't able to put it down until I finished it. Nor will you!

Bhawana Somaaya began her career in journalism in the late 70s while studying for her BA degree in Psychology. Commencing with Free Press Journal's Cinema Journal as chief reporter, she moved to Super as a special correspondent while completing LLB at the Government Law College, Mumbai. In '81 she joined Movie as an assistant editor and was promoted in '85 as its joint editor. In '89 Chitralekha asked her to launch their first English publication and in 2000 she joined as editor Screen a film weekly of the Indian Express group.

She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and has contributed columns to Sunday Observer, Afternoon, Janmabhoomi, Pravasi, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Pioneer and Newstime. She has written six books.

Amitabh Bachchan – The Legend, Salaam Bollywood, Take-25, the Story So Far, Cinema: Images and Issues, and Hema Malini – The Authorised Biography.

Fragmented Frames is Bhawana's seventh book with two more in the pipeline.

Back of the Book

The different article on a variety of topics are a reflection of the many colours, trends, sections and seasons of show business

Karan Johar

Fearless and compassionate the author takes a stand on many relevant issues related to the film fraternity.

Anil Kapoor

Full of insights the book is a must buy for the thinking film buff.

-Vidya Balan

From the advent of moving images more than 100 years ago to the multiple genres and mega projects of today, Indian cinema has really come a long way. The audience that earlier discarded this medium as a 'world of make-believe' is now akin to critics whose verdict determines the success of a film. Even writing on cinema, once referred to as 'yellow journalism' confined to the glossies, has transformed into a serious and respectable profession. What's more, it has even infiltrated into the front-page territory!

Fragmented Frames is a celebration of this change in perspective, as recorded by an eminent film critics, who has seen cinema developing and achieving greater heights over the three long decades. The book offers her reflections on various aspects ranging from mythology, theatre, television, superstition to literature, scandals, controversies and more. It provides a glimpse of this dream world, and at the same time, discusses certain 'real' issues associated with it.


1Reel v/s Real13
2Stumbling Skeletons17
3Remains of the Day21
4No Child's Play24
5Once Upon A Time27
6Shift in Perspective30
7A Dancer and a Director34
8It's Different37
9Cinema is Changing40
10A Magical Experience43
11Dignity in Pain46
12Whose Line is it Anyway?50
13Laws of Attraction53
14Patel v/s Patel57
15Raksha Bandhan and Films60
16Morality Baggage63
17Timeless Madan Mohan67
18Resurrecting a Classic70
19A Beautiful Mind73
20Readymade Superstars77
21Small is Big81
22Whose Party is it Anyway?84
23Devoid of Gimmicks87
24A Transforming Experience90
25Underestimating the Audience93
26Dons, Brawls and Court Cases96
27Scandals and Controversies99
28Sting Operations and Traditions102
29No Time for Ordinary105
30Terms of Endearment107
31Sensitising Towards Disabled111
32In the Name of Religion114
33Remarkable Men118
34No Smoking, Sorry, We are Indians121
35Postcard to Sarat Babu124
36Father Dear Father127
37Premier Culture130
38Hooked to Fame134
39Raining Controversies137
40KBC, All about Human Equations140
41Krishna and the Film Hero143
42Captain My Captain147
43Sex, Lies and Audiotapes150
44Are we abusing our Child Stars?154
45Politics or Films157
46Tulsi resides in the Hero's Heart161
47Defining Year164
48Cinderella Romance167
49Entertainment for Enrichment170
50Love in Times of B&W… and Colour173
51Trial for Justice176
52Awards, Theirs and Ours179
53Family Affair182
54It Tomorrow Comes186
55An Actor and a Cause190
56Cross-Culture Romance194
57The Graduates198
58Mere Paas Ma Hai201
59Yeh Kashmir Hai204
60Contradictory Signals208
61God of Details211
62Returning to Fables214
63Audience is Changing217
64A Decade of Romance220
65Marriage means never having to say you are settled223
66Distinctive Deity227
67Bapu Ne Kaha Tha - I231
68Bapu Ne Kaha Tha - II234
69Breaking the Jinx237
70Whose Life is it Anyway?240
71Conscience Crisis243
72Festival Diary247
73It's about Self Worth251
74Have Reality Shows taken over our Lives?256
75No Escaping History259
76Whose Reputation is it anyway?262
77Reality Bites265
78Invisible Middle Class268
79Hall of Fame271
80Voyeuristic Gaze274
81Scenes from a Marriage277
82Hey Ram280
83East v/s West283
84Fairy Tale Comes True286
85Cannes Calling290
86Food, Erotica and Compassion193
87Death of a Courtesan296
88The Lady Doth Protest Too Much299
89Guru-Shishya Parampara303
90Seven-year Itch307
91Come Back Yash Chopra310
93Man v/s Machine!318
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