Bollywood – A History

ISBN: 0-7524-2835-7
Tempus Publishing Ltd (2006)

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The first comprehensive history of India’s film industry, one that now rivals Hollywood. Hollywood may define our idea of movies but it is the city of Bombay on the west coast of India that is now the centre of world cinema. Every year the Indian film industry produces more than a 1,000 feature films, every day 14 million Indians go to a movie and a billion more people a year buy tickets for Indian movies than for Hollywood ones.

The rise of Bombay as the film capital of the world has been remarkable. Bollywood takes the cinematic techniques of Hollywood and uses them to produce movies that bear no relation to the original but have a compelling appeal that, in the last half a century, has enthralled audiences throughout eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The movies themselves are a self-contained world with their multiple song and dance routines, intense melodramas, plots that contain everything from farce to tragedy, but always produce a happy ending.

The men and women who create these movies are even more remarkable and it is this fantastic, rich, diverse story, a veritable Indian fairyland that Mihir Bose, a native of Bombay, tells in the first comprehensive history of this major social and cultural phenomenon. Bollywood movies may only recently have begun to be noticed in the West, but they have long defined the very concept of cinema for many millions across the globe. While the name Bollywood echoes and acknowledges its bastard American parentage, the son has long since taken over from the father.


Meera Syal:

‘This is a must read book for everybody interested in Bollywood — the first definitive history of the Indian film world.’

The Observer:

‘The first comprehensive history of India’s film industry is pure entertainment.’

The Sunday Times:

‘Bose brings pioneers such a Raj Kapoor vividly to life, along with many other unforgettable characters… Insightful and often hilarious, a punchy narrative.’

The Daily Telegraph:

‘The tale of Indian cinema’s germination, fuelled by visionary entrepreneurs who realised the potential of this imported entertainment and made it their own… fascinating.’

The Sunday Telegraph:

‘There can be no faulting Bose for his thoroughness, or for his enthusiasm.’

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