Bless You Bollywood! - The Book
I'm happy to inform the release of my new book, "Bless You Bollywood! - a tribute to Hindi Cinema on completing 100 years", published in USA. The book is a compilation of my blogs and articles which I have been writing from time to time and are already published in Hindustan Times, New Delhi, sulekha.com and tilakrishi.blogspot.com. While introducing my book, I wish to thank my readers, specially the Bollywood buffs amongst them, who contributed considerably to the contents of the book with their feedback through their comments on my blogs. I'm giving here a glimpse of what the book is all about through some select excerpts from the book, which may look familiar to many who have been following my blogs:
Bless You Bollywood!
Dadasaheb Phalke, a man of versatile talent, was responsible for the production of India's first fully indigenous silent feature film, Raja Harishchandra. The film was released on May 3, 1913 at the Coronation Cinema in Mumbai. This laid the foundation of what, in time, would grow to become the largest film producing industry in the world.
March 14, 1931 was a historic day for Indian cinema. Ardeshir Irani of Imperial Movietone released Alam Ara, the first full-length Indian talkie film at the Majestic cinema in Bombay. This film laid a milestone that marked the stepping into the new talkie era as well as rang the death knell to silent films. The most remarkable thing about the birth of the sound film in India is it came with a bang and quickly displaced silent movies.
Life in India would not be the same without the exuberance of cinema, song and dance, melodrama, relevent messages- Indian films have them all, and usually all together in one film. Stars and super stars, hits and failures, outright commercial films and the art genre of films- all are woven together as entertainment supreme. Of the numberless individuals associated with cinema, some are eternally identifiable. Their image and hallmark style render them unforgettable. Some of these marvels are presented here-
Bollywood is basically a hero oriented industry. Male leads would often see that their female co-stars got less footage, less meaty roles, less publicity, that they do not turn scene stealers. Nevertheless, some of the most memorable films have been those that were women-centric. These films have given some great female stars who commanded an equal position with the male leads and also no less a superstar status. Here is a tribute to the female superstars of Hindi cinema.
Mumbai (Bombay) is the Mecca of Indian Cinema. Hundreds of young men and women come here from all parts of India every day to pursue their dreams - Bombay Dreams - of becoming a star. For so many what begins as glittering, glorious dream almost invariably turns into a terrible mirage. Only very few, destined to fulfil their dream, are given a break to become actors. But they have only won the heats, the real race to stardom is yet to begin. To win this marathon race, they need to show their extra-ordinary talent, stemna and passion to work hard, and ofcourse, the luck. Those who reach the top three positions and are able to retain that status for a long period are far and few, they attain superstardom. They are treated with god-like reverence by millions of their fans.
The typical plot of Bollywood's three-hours plus bonanza runs according to a predictable formula- two young lovers find their chances of marriage threatened by a nafarious villain or a seemingly insurmountable social barrier, but after several songs, a long car chase and a cliff hanging fight, all obstacles are suddenly removed just in time for a whirlwind wedding before "The End". Just as songs and dances are important in a Bollywood movie, so are the villains and the vamps, without whom the story would literally fall apart.
In India there’s no place that reveres mothers more than Bollywood. ‘Mere paas Maa hai’ – a line from Deewar remains the most quoted dialogue from any Hindi film. For decades Bollywood has doted on its mothers and the fans of Hindi cinema the world over adore our Bollywood mothers – their adoring smiles, strokes that sooth away fears, soft voices singing lullabies and those pain-filled eyes reflecting the sacrifices made for the sake of their children. Mothers have always been an integral part of Hindi cinema. They have been central to the plot and often been the driving force behind the storyline – the mother’s suffering leading up to the protagonist’s cry for justice, her terminal disease making the hero commit the first crime, her humiliation by the villain encouraging a vengeance attack by the hero.
Onscreen chemistry of co-stars creates a professional bond and produces an under current of romantic comaraderie. This is achieved when the players pour their hearts into the roles while doing a romantic scene. When the artistic aspect overtakes clinical professionalism of the actors, the magic of the moment is applauded by the audiences. Bollywood celebrates another blockbuster and also birth of another popular pair.
We are a nation of music lovers and in music lies our national unity. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Maharashtra to Meghalaya, we can drown all our differences of cast and creed, communal and cultural, political and provincial, and live together as one people, playing or listening to popular music. Whether it was the verse of Sufis and Saints or the melody of Lata Mungeshkar, folk-lore of Ila Arun or the Indi-pop of Daler Mehndi, music has been the biggest binding force for all age groups and all times. Many in India may not go to bed without listening to Mehdi Hussan or Ghulam Ali of Pakistan. It was left to Runa Leila of Bangladesh to bring out the best of "Jhoole Lal". Reshma always remained a rage in India whenever she came from Pakistan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan produced one of his best albums in India. And, of course, melody queen Lata Mungeshkar is a household name not only in India but also in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The list goes on and on....
Bollywood fosters the spirit of brotherhood which is displayed by filmgoers every day in every show. While enjoying a film, one never thinks to which caste and religion the next person in the theatre belongs to. In fact, everybody sit together in one place and enjoy the film together. They cry for the same reason, laugh at the same joke and sing the same songs.
Bollywood movies have time and again shown that they are immune to economic turmoil. Even during the worst of economic depression Bollywood blockbusters have made thousands throng to the theaters. When people are depressed due to inflation they want to watch a movie, when they are happy with elation they want to watch movies.
Bollywood has witnessed a lot of progress from its nascent years. It has been continuously evolving for the better. Bollywood fascinates one and all; it has captivated the hearts of millions of viewers in India and abroad. Bollywood has come a long way, seen a lot, shown a lot and it marches ahead without faltering much. The great Indian Bollywood saga is more enchanting than a fairy tale, spicier than Indian food. Bollywood’s evolution with time can provide enough fodder for a million books to be written or odes to be sung. On its auspicious centenary celebrations let us wish Bollywood the best: Bless You Bollywood!