BOLLYWOOD by M K RAGHVENDRA
Hindi cinema in its new evolving avatar could well be dominated by it brand image in the future
M.K.Raghavendra’s ‘Bollywood’ (OUP Oxford India Short Introduction series 2016.) fills a long felt intellectual vacuum in the serious cinephiles book rack.
Well researched it follows a very defined linear narrative, and picks up a very distinct language and line of thought along the way. He sets the tone when he writes “cinema began as a capture of reality and it was ideally suited to follow mimesis which had been the basis of much western art and literature”
Raghvendra brings in very clear distinction between capturing cinema as a reality and cinema that brings into play the makers own interpretation, to create an illusion that you are made to believe in.
He rues the fact that much of the work on cinema in India has largely confined itself to academic approaches that employ psychoanalysis instruments for understanding.
None of that work had been addressed to attract the intelligent cinema loving audience
He analyses it very well when he says “the exceptional nature of India’s artistic /aesthetic tradition and cultural/political history are broadly held as the reason for Bollywood triumphing on its own turf when other better established, cinemas have fallen under the global onslaught of Hollywood”
He starts off by looking at the changing film motifs in the light of unfolding history and divides it into various eras starting from the reformist films of the 1930s and 40s to cinema after liberalization in 1991.
He then goes on to examine Hindi cinema from the spatio-temporal, causal ethical and moral points of view.
What follows is the oft-neglected economic dynamics of Bollywood and sums up with an analysis of the emergence of the Global Hollywood as brand in the celluloid ecosystem
Raghvendra rues the absence of codification of film form and convention. The lack is so endemic that even film families have not been able to benefit from it and have always had to start from zero base every single time.
The book is an intellectual attempt to touch upon Bollywood’s artistic efforts and familiarize the serious student of cinema to its processes.
A very interesting and engaging dissection of the film OM SHANTI OM is done as an illustration where he talks about the brand becoming the content and prophesizes that Hindi cinema in its new evolving avatar could well be dominated by it brand image in the future.
The book is must read for serious students of cinema and could well go onto become a reference tome in film schools across India as well as for scholars and universities working on Bollywood in India and abroad.
And for the general public who is intrigued by the magic of Bollywood here is an intellectual peep into the way it works and a rollercoaster ride of the popular mainstream phenomenon bordering on allegiance as strong as religion.
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