Although the motion picture industry in India is one of the oldest and largest in the world-with literally thousands of productions released each year-films from that country have not been as well received as those from other countries. Known for their impressive musical numbers, melodramatic plots, and nationally beloved stars, Indian films have long been ignored by the West but are now at the forefront of cinema studies. With the prolific number of films available, it can be difficult to know what to watch.
In 100 Essential Indian Films, Rohit K. Dasgupta and Sangeeta Datta identify and discuss significant works produced since the 1930s. Examining the output of different regional film industries throughout India, this volume offers a balance of box-office blockbusters, critical successes, and less-recognized cult classics. From early films by Satyajit Ray to contemporary classics such as Salaam Bombay and Lagaan, each entry includes comprehensive details about the film and situates the work in the context and history of the Indian canon.
In addition to these notable productions, this book also examines key film directors and the work of major film stars in the industry. While many studies of Indian films focus on a single language's contributions, this encyclopedia offers a comprehensive guide to productions from across the country in various languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Assamese, Punjabi, Marathi, and English. 100 Essential Indian Films is an engaging volume that will appeal to both cinema scholars and those looking for an introduction to a vital component of world cinema.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 767 g
Dimensions: 262 x 186 x 23 mm
Starred review: Media academic Dasgupta and documentarian Datta have lovingly assembled an impressive list of 100 Indian films worth seeking out. Of course there are Bollywood smashes such as Lagann (2001) and Sholay (1975), but the duo's picks span all genres. They cherry-pick the best of the best, showcasing terrific movies throughout Indian film history. Sweet romantic comedies such as 1965's Guide and 2013's The Lunchbox, the 2016 wrestling biopic Dangal, the gritty 2012 Gangs of Wasseypur, and 1975's vigilante thriller Deewaar, as well as meatier work like 1964's Charulata (from Bengali auteur Satyajit Ray), are just some of the remarkable movies waiting to be discovered. Dasgupta and Datta give plenty of room to the backstory, plot, and impact of these films, making for an insightful and informative book that never feels rushed. Westerners whose perception of the Indian film industry begins and ends with splashy Bollywood musicals are in for a delightful surprise here, as this is an outstanding survey of a wildly inventive and frequently fascinating area of world film. * Publishers Weekly, Starred Review *
Recommended: Indian cinema started in 1913, but the 1950s was the golden era of Indian films. Indian cinema known as Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world. It is based in Mumbai and produces about 230 films every year in Hindi, the national language of India. In addition, more than 700 films are produced in regional languages, including Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, and Tamil. In selecting films for this volume, Dasgupta and Datta watched films in all these languages, including regional films, and interviewed actors, actresses, film directors, music directors, and others involved in Indian filmmaking. They arrange the book alphabetically by Indian title, including English translation and the film's date of release (the earliest 1935, the most recent 2017). For each entry, the authors include information about the director, author of the story, producers, cast, language, length of the film, whether the film is in color or black and white, and other important information. Each entry includes a list of further reading and is supported by notes and a bibliography. Many black-and-white photographs are included. An excellent Introduction provides a history of the film industry of India and its achievements, including awards won by Indian films. * CHOICE *