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Studying Bollywood is an introduction to the history and the stars, directors and movements of India's national cinema. The popular Hindi film has until recently been largely over looked in the west as its construction and traditions can make it hard for us to understand. Studying Bollywood aims to inform the reader as to the richness of the texts and the underlying quality of the cinematic genre.
The book follows a chronological course initially exploring a potted history of India. The historical aspects of the country are highly important for a reader of Bollywood texts, as many of the directors lean on the history of the country to help the narratives along. The historical phase of the book leads into the early years of Bollywood and the aspirational development of Tollywood, an attempt at an Indian Hollywood in Calcutta up to the development of sound, the 'masala mix' that became Bollywood and finally Mehboob Kahn's, Oscar nominated Mother India. The reader then moves on to the next wave of stars and heroes, such as Raj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan. In this phase of the book we study a range of key Bollywood texts including Sholay and the Oscar nominated Lagaan. The final part of the book looks at India's Parallel Cinema, made famous around the world by the visionary and technically brilliant work of Satyajit Ray. Following on, important texts such as Bandit Queen and Monsoon Wedding are discussed.