Cover image for Bollywood's India  Hindi cinema as a guide to contemporary India
Bollywood's India Hindi cinema as a guide to contemporary India
Publication Information:
London : Reaktion Books, 2014.


Physical Description:
1 online resource (297 pages) : illustrations
Local Note:
Electronic reproduction. Ann Arbor, MI : ProQuest, 2015. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ProQuest affiliated libraries.


Material Type
Shelf Number

On Order



Bollywood movies have long been known for their colorful song-and-dance numbers and knack for combining drama, comedy, action-adventure, and music. But these exciting and often amusing films rarely reflect the reality of life on the Indian subcontinent. Exploring the nature of mainstream Hindi cinema, the strikingly illustrated Bollywood's India examines its nonrealistic depictions of everyday life in India and what it reveals about Indian society.

Showing how escapism and entertainment function in Bollywood cinema, Rachel Dwyer argues that Hindi cinema's interpretations of India over the last two decades are a reliable guide to understanding the nation's changing hopes and dreams. She looks at the ways Bollywood has imagined and portrayed the unity and diversity of the country--what it believes and feels, as well as life at home and in public. Using Dwyer's two decades spent working with filmmakers and discussing movies with critics and moviegoers, Bollywood's India is an illuminating look at Hindi cinema.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Theories about watching movies can be both complex and simple: e.g., the screen is a window or a mirror; the screen is just the screen. Dwyer (Univ. of London, UK) suggests that the screen-the Bollywood screen-is India, that what one has seen is where one has lived. In Untimely Bollywood (CH, Nov'09, 47-1330), Amit Rai wrote about (among other things) India's adaptation to the multiplex and how Twitter and Facebook obviated the other India, the one with sewage problems and honor killing, baksheesh and rape. Dwyer and Rai do not disagree, but Dwyer's book serves a broader audience. Dwyer considers Hindi film modern mythology; in a global context, it does not matter that the song and dance fantasies of the earlier Bollywood have mostly been relegated to background voice-overs. India, the "Asian giant," looks to the future but also recognizes social problems, and these problems have been increasingly tackled in film in the last 20-some years. Thus the screen is now a composite of the "imagined worlds" of Hindi cinema and what is to come. If Bollywood is no longer a fantasy, has it already presaged the national vision? Including black-and-white stills and an extensive bibliography and filmography, the book references films by their Hindi titles but affixes English titles. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. --Allan Hirsh, Central Connecticut State University

Table of Contents

1 Unity: The Nation, Its History and Trans-nationalism
2 Diversity: Region, Caste and Class
3 Religion: Myths, Beliefs and Practices
4 Emotions: Sadness, Anger and Happiness
5 Home: Romance, Love and the Family
6 The World: Education, Work and Lifestyle
7 Agneepath/The Path of Fire, 1990-2012
Further Reading