Indian Cinema: A Critical Filmography
Indian Cinema: A Critical Filmography tells the epic story of the most diverse national cinema in the world. Though dominated and to a certain extent defined by spectacular Hindi cinema (‘Bollywood’), this epic includes as sub-plots major regional-language cinemas—Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali—whose audience size, cultural distinctiveness and aesthetic achievement give them the status of national cinemas in their own right. Rooted in aesthetic tradition yet open to a range of global influences, ineluctably combining elements of Hindu myth and Islamicate culture with contemporary trends and concerns, Indian films articulate cinema’s unfinished business as a matrix for the experience of modernity.
The volume traces the main paths of development and influence within the complex and defining plurality of Indian cinema. Each of the films discussed has been selected for its ability to represent and illuminate the major directors, stars, genres, cultural traditions and modes that have shaped the course of Indian film history. Written by the leading English-language scholars in the field, the volume offers an introduction not just to the films but also to the diversity of critical approaches within the field today. In addition to providing a fresh view of Bollywood and revisionist accounts of Hindi figures such as Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Nargis and Amitabh Bachchan, the volume introduces readers to refined Malayalam melodramas, outrageous 1950s Tamil comedies and the still under-recognised achievements of Bengal’s great political modernist, Ritwik Ghatak.