Bollywood is coming alive in fine print and can be said to the darling of many, especially northerners before the emergence of Nollywood. A spate of innovative books is not only documenting Indian moviedom for posterity but also throwing meaningful light on the evolution of mainstream cinema.
However, should Bollywood be termed a literary genre? It is well known fact that the films are usually stories that have been told or written which have in turn been acted upon. Then, shouldn’t it fall under one of the genres which are widely known? Does it matter if from film it will transferred to books? Or maybe for the first time there is a whole range of books that now reflects the incredible range of Bollywood itself.
It’s no longer news to say that readership of film books has grown. The top three trends seem to be visual books, star biographies and memoirs.
Bollywood became a literary inspiration in the early 1990s with books like “Starry Nights” by Shobaa De and “Show Business” by Shashi Tharoor. On offer now are popular movie screenplays, pictorials and racy novels.
The series so far has covered three landmark movies – “Deewar”, “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and “Disco Dancer”. While “Amar Akbar Anthony.
Research has proven that Penguin has published three major film titles this year – a biography of K.L. Saigal by Pran Nevile, “Flashback”, the autobiography of Bob Christo, and
“First Day, First Show” by Anupama Chopra.
Two more books, “The Greatest Show on Earth” edited by Jerry Pinto, and “Sounding Off”, an autobiography of Oscar-winning sound designer Resul Pookutty, are slated for release this year.
Writer Jai Arjun Singh’s takes on the making of Kundan Shah’s “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” is a story of how the movie came to be despite the odds. Made on a budget of less than Rs.7 lakh, it went from a quiet showing at the box office to become the country’s first successful black comedy.
A telephone conversation with an addict of Indian movies who pleaded annonimity said “The movie is a socio-political mirror of its time which is the cornerstone of good literature. You go to the rich boy-poor girl movie to escape the grinding poverty of everyday life. ‘Deewar’ is structured in the ethos of Indian civilisation by which I mean it presents certain archetypes which is passively present in Indian culture without anyone recognising it,”.
The book, “Disco Dancer: A Comedy in Five Parts”, by screenplay writer Anuvab Pal, tries to probe what made the world go into raptures. In Mumbai of the 1970s, when the Hindi film industry churned out ‘hero versus the system’ stories, “Disco Dancer” changed the concept and it still remains a delight.