Bollywood has captured the imagination of millions in this country. Here are some books that offer deeper insights into the industry.
Guru Dutt: A Life in Cinema: Guru Dutt could be considered one of the few who dared to envision cinema in its purest form, and he paid the price for it too. In her book, Nasreen demystifies the tormented actor's life to an extent, shedding light on his early days and entry into Bollywood. There are some fascinating anecdotes about how movies like Pyaasa and Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam were made.
Conversations with Mani Ratnam: Never has a conversation between a filmmaker and a critic been so engrossing. This book is an honest delineation of Ratnam's film career, giving sharp insights into his craft and style. Baradwaj Rangan's beautiful prose and careful questioning aptly brings out the story of the otherwise elusive Ratnam.
Salaam Bollywood: A journalist's swan song to Bollywood, Bhavana Somayya's book chronicles the events, incidents, glory and shame, the eccentricity and vouyerism, and the unabating attraction that makes up Bollywood. Bhavana provides rare insights into the industry, tracing it from the 1970s to early 2000s, travelling from one studio to the next, collecting memories.
Mother Maiden Mistress: Women in Indian Cinema,1950 - 2010: Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari and Supriya Madangarli go through six decades of history, bringing to life the women that populated cinema, and shaped fashion and culture. What you will find is a nuanced perspective on different film eras and the living culture in the country at the time. The first-person narratives of Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, Madhuri Dixit and Rani Mukerji are especially fascinating.