Friday, December 5, 2008

Hemant Kumar: Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam (1962/1970)

Basically, Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam is a classic Indian film, based on the book by Bimal Mitra. It was India's entry for the Oscars in 1963 and stars Meena Kumari (in one of her most famous roles) as a drunken rich house wife in the province of Bengal during the end of the 1800's.

Initially, I got this album for two songs. The first, and my favorite, "Piya Aiso Jiya Men" is simply a classic Geeta Dutt song that I love. The second is "Sakhiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahi Aayegi", beautifully sung by Asha Bhosle and wonderfully picturised by Guru Dutt on the lovely Meenu Mumtaz (Minoo Mumtaz).

But after listening to the album for a while, I slowly fell in love with the song "Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Me".

It's always a pleasure to hear Geeta Dutt, and on the record you sadly don't get her vocal intro to the song "Chale Aao, Chale Aao" which is in the film (and can be heard in the clip). But Geeta Dutt was most famous for the song "Piya Aiso Jiya Men", as the caracter heartbreakingly calls out to her neglecting husband.

I also enjoy the playful "Bhanwara Bada Nadan" picturised on Waheeda Rehman. But every song on the album has its own charm and I am sure everyone would like one, at the least.

On the back of the record the song titles are translated, so I wrote them down below each one. Enjoy!

I just learned that the film is supposed to be remade, by Rituparno Ghosh starring Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham(I posted the poster just below.) I don't know? a classic is a classic, I wouldn't have remade it, especially with poptart actors, well it's their chance to prove that they can act, and I hope they succeed.


Side 1

1. Title Music
2. Asha Bhosle: Bhanwara Bada Nadan
Oh! How ignorant is the wasp!
3. Asha Bhosle: Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Me
Unexpressed remained what I wished to say
(the secret of my heart)
4. Asha Bhosle & Chorus: Sakhiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahi Aayegi
Thou dispenser of wine, tonight sleep will forsake me

Side 2

5. Geeta Dutt: Chale Aao, Chale Aao
Come to me, come to me
6. Asha Bhosle: Meri Jaan O Meri Jaan
(Thou art) my life, my life, do not torment me so
7. Geeta Dutt: Piya Aiso Jiya Men
Oh lover! Deep in my heart have you found a place
8. Geeta Dutt: Na Jao Saiyan Chhod Ke Baiyan
Though released is your hand, do not leave me, love

Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

Stella_1's score: 4/5

Get the music now: Hemant Kumar Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Usha Khanna: Hawas (1974)

PC and I decided to post this album at the same time, on the same day. (Though I thought it was supposed to be posted at 9 pm, when it was actually 9 am, sorry). I don't know if he liked the record, but I kind of did. (To read what he thought see the post, Hawas)

Hawas creates great atmosphere. But even though it runs in the same vein as the 1973 hits Bobby and Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Hawas is less pop and a little more "soft funk". Or, at the least, it creates a more mature branch of the 1970's teen romance/dramas anyway. Also, Hawas, means "lust"in hindi, so in a sense the music has to be more mature to represent the theme and content of the film.

Usha Khanna is one of the only female music directors in the Indian film industry (some others are Saraswati Devi, Jaddan Bai (Nargis's mother) and Ishrat Sultana). She started her career with Dil Deke Dekho in 1959 which was primarily based on western rock'n'roll, and as with Hawas, though now in the 70's, she remaines inspired by western music but certainly had evolved with the changing times.

The best songs on the record are the "vamp songs" sung by Asha Bhosle. You have "Aao Yaro Gao", that has to be my favorite on the album for "semi bad girl" Rekha, and for the classic bad girl Bindu ,"Apne Dil Men Jagah Dijiye" is ok but I actually like the intro better then the song itself.

For the rest of the tracks, "Yeh Hawas Kya Hai" (Again, an amazing intro and great mood) is pretty good,"Teri Galiyon Men" is ok and "Kal Raat Usne" is nothing special.

And that is actually it, because there are only 5 tracks. So enjoy!

(I added a picture of the original record cover on the left!)


Side 1

1. Asha Bhosle & Chorus: Aao Yaro Gao
2. Asha Bhosle: Yeh Hawas Kya Hai

Side 2

3. Mohd. Rafi: Teri Galiyon Men
4. Asha Bhosle: Apne Dil Men Jagah Dijiye
5. Asha Bhosle: Kal Raat Usne

Lyrics: Sawan Kumar

Stella_1's score: 3.5/5

Get the Music Now: Usha Khanna Hawas

Friday, November 28, 2008

Quick News

Hi Everyone,

If you are not only interested in Hindi soundtracks, this could be an interesting blog as well. I just wanted to tell you about my second blog "Tamil Film Story", I posted my first record, a classic Sivaji film story called Veerapandiya Kattabomman. I don't know why but for some reason there seems to be more dialogue records and story records in South Indian languages than in Hindi. I have a small collection of Tamil Film Stories as well as soundtracks, that I plan to put up once in a while.Also, I if anyone wants to join my blog network on Facebook, just click here.
Thanks(love that pic of Sivaji !)

And I am hoping that the Mumbai terrorist attacks will stop and that nothing worse will happen in the future. Gandhi would so be mad right now, but he would know what to do. I hope people stay safe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

S. N. Tripathi: Rani Rupmati (1957/1981)

One word that I would use to describe Rani Rupmati is "lovely". S. N. Tripathi's soundtrack (also his film, since he directed it) was made when classical music could be filmy music. Like Baiju Bawra, it draws on ragas like, Darbari, Sarang and Bhairavin (and no, I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to different ragas, this was just written on the record), but unlike Baiju Bawra the emotional discharge and content of the songs seem more dulled and the focus is based more on the melody.

Rani Rupmati is set in the time of the Mughals, more precisely during the rule of Akbar. And is inspired by the true love story of Roopmati, a hindu court singer, and Baz Bahadur, a muslim sultan. Not to spoil anything, but the relationship does not end well. The music is mostly inspired by classical Hindustani music of that time. Some of Rupmati's poems still exist today and are even translated to english. Although, I do not know if any of the music on the vinyl is inspired by her music.

Anyway, the song,"Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet" is really great, and I guess that I am not the only one who liked it because it's sung twice, once by Mukesh and the second time by Lata Mangheskar (Lata Version). I am going to have to go with Mukesh version as my favorite.

My favorite song is "Jhan Jhan Jhan Baje Payaliya" and I also like the duet between Rafi and Krishna Chonkar, "Baat Chalat Nai Chundari".

Also like Baiju Bawra, there is a singing competition between a court singer (Manna Dey) "Udja Bhanwar" and Roopmati (Lataji) "Aaja Aaja Bhanwar" as they try and make a flower, which holds a bee, blossom and close. Here is a video of both songs.
I don't like this song much, but it take place before the battle between Rupmati's love, Baz Bahadur's army and the invading troops of Akbar. In "Itihas Agar Likhna Chaho" you have Rani Rupmati getting ready for battle. Enjoy.

Overall, I really enjoy listening to this record and I hope you do too. I haven't seen the film but it doesn't look too bad. If any has please feel free to comment. Thanks


Side 1

1. Mukesh: Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Raat Suhani Jhoome Jawani
3. Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi: Phulbagiya Men Bulbul Bole
4. Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi: Jhan Jhan Jhan Baje Payaliya
5. Manna Dey : Udja Bhanwar-Darbari

Side 2

6. Lata Mangeshkar: Aaja Aaja Bhanwar-Sarang
7. Lata Mangeshkar: Jeevan Ki Beena Ka Taar Bole
8. Mohd. Rafi & Krishna Chonkar: Baat Chalat Nai Chundari-Bhairavin
9. Usha Mangeshkar: Ankhon Men Surma Daal Ke
10. Usha Mangheskar & Chorus: Itihas Agar Likhna Chaho
11. Lata Mangeshkar: Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet

Lyrics: Bharat Vyas

Stella_1's Score: 3.5/5

Get the music now: S. N. Tripathi Rani Rupmati

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween: Becoming a Bombay Bombshell

Picture - Heroine of the graphic novel Bombaby: The Screen Goddess by Antony Mazzotta (You can buy it for free, here, at Slave Labour Comics)

So....basically, my costume this Halloween is of a Bombay Starlet of the late 60's, more precisely the "good girl" of the 60s . My look, even though I could never equal the beauty of these heroines, was inspired by these ladies, and even more specifically their looks in these films. I also liked the styles of Sadhana and Nanda in the 60s as well.

Vyjayanthimala in Sangam (1964)
Inspiration: The Sleeveless Choli
Sharmila Tagore in Talash (1969) (I wonder why....duh, the red hair!)
Inspiration: The Hair Style

Hema Malini in Abhinetri (1970)
Inspiration: The Makeup (Eyes and Lips) and Flower in Hair

The look:

The Sari: One color, mostly pale or pastels with embroidery of silver or gold patterns

The Choli: Sleeveless (seemed to be the trend at the time), also I wanted a low back with a bow but I did not have the time to sew one.

The Hair: BIG. Long black hair would have been great but I have medium length red hair. So I did the 60's bee hive look (seen on the pic of Sharmila Tagore) or as we now call it the Amy Winehouse look. I got tips on how to fix my hair from this video. Also, I stuck two curls to my face with hair gel and sprayed lots of hair spray on the hole thing.

The Eyes: Lots of black eyeliner and pale eye shadow.

Now that I've got the look, all I need is Shammi, Jeteendra or Shashi. (Or Shashi ?, no, just Shashi!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laxmikant Pyarelal: Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli (1970/1971)

This is a great soundtrack and, in my opinion, one of Laximikant and Pyarelal's best. Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli is a bit on the experimental side, but most of the songs are based on very simple melodies. The main character of the film is a young woman with a passion for the arts, more precisely song and dance. So this album suits the film well in the sense that the music must be very theatrical and grandiose (two defining features of later films by V. Shantaram) to be incorporated with dance. Most songs have long instrumental intros, breaks or outros that create strong emotional and atmospheric moods.

One of the most famous tracks is "Taron Men Sajke Apne Suraj Se" inspired by this famous song (I would be surprised if you have never heard it before, but I posted the link anyway) from the classic spaghetti western, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Original music by the famous composer Ennio Morricone.

Also the title track "Jal Bin Machhli" is also well known. In the video the heroine dances and tries to imitate a gold fish out of water. There is also a new remix version (2005) by Akriti.

"Baat Hai Ek Boond Si Dil Ke Pyale Men" brings back memories from an obscure Disney film from 1985, called Return to Oz. I don't know if it's the fact that in this film similar music, by David Shire, is used to create a very creepy setting or atmosphere. It is present in a scene when Dorthy, once in Oz, meets a princess who collects the heads of many young women to use as her own. Return to Oz Clip (You hear the music at around 2:40 into the clip and the section I am referring to in the Jal Bin Machhli song is an instrumental bit starting at 50 sec). I would also like to mention that this comparison is totally unimportant to this post and that it is only a personal connection that I made.

So continuing, the best example of theatrical music on this record is a song I enjoy, "O Mitwa Yeh Duniya To Kya Hai". The last instrumental part gets quite "groovy" for the time. The clip has such great interpretive dancing.

For the rest of the album, the other songs do not impress me as much, but are also good.

I posted the original cover of the Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli vinyl which I find amazingly bizarre and psychedelic. I love it!


Side 1

1. Lata Mangeshkar: Jal Bin Machhli
2. Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh: Baat Hai Ek Boond Si Dil Ke Pyale Men
3. Lata Mangeshkar: Karja Laga Ke Bindiya Saja Ke
4. Lata Mangeshkar: Jo Main Chali Phir Na Miloongi

Side 2
5. Mukesh: Taron Men Sajke Apne Suraj Se
6. Lata Mangeshkar: O Mitwa Yeh Duniya To Kya Hai
7. Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh: Jhoomke Gaye Dil

Lyrics: Majrooh

Stella_1's score: 4/5

Get the music now: Laxmikant Pyarelal Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli

Yay! My record player!

Oh, joy! I finally got my record player with a USB plug, I am so happy!

The only difference is that the files will be in Wav. format and that's it.

I will post an album as soon as I can. Thanks for your patience.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Naushad: Gunga Jumna (1961/1978)

The soundtrack to Gunga Jumna runs in the same veins as O. P. Nayyar's music for the 1957 film Naya Daur. The music also resembles some of Naushad's earlier work in Amar (1954), especially in what I like to call the "village girl songs". In short, the sound is not original, but that does not take away from the quality of Naushad's work. Gunga Jumna was nominated for a Filmfare award that year.

As far as the plot goes the now famous pair (after the success of Devdas in 1955, Naya Daur in 1957 and Madhumati in 1958) goes on to make another hit by playing lovers in early post-independent India. With Dilip Kumar playing the role of the hard working Gunga and Kumar's fictional well educated brother Jumna played by his real brother Nasir Khan, with Vyjayanthimala as the lovely and colourful heroine. Themes such as right vs wrong, village vs city and battling social status of the new educated vs uneducated India live together and create friction in the film.

But if we come back to the music, it is mostly based on folk, with it's regional instruments and simple melodies.

To start, we have the beautiful Helen doing some Kathak on "Tora Man Bada Papi", well it's more like dancing around (it's good dancing, but not Kathak) in a Kathak outfit, not actually dancing a classical Indian form. The song is kind of plain, it does not interest me much, but I like the video.

After, looking at the big difference between the lives of the two brothers (Ganga and Jumna) as children, the video reflex's the contrast present in society of the "new India". This patriotic song, "Insaf Ki Dagar Pe" is a little to idealistic, but at least it is looking to a bring future. Everyone needs hope.

My favorite song has to be "Do Hanson Ka Joda", I love the sarangi (or sarod, I'm not sure), its beautiful. It's sad, simple and sweet.

Two other songs that I like are "Jhanan Ghoongar Baje" and "Dagabaz Tori Batian", because they are joyful and playful.

"O Chhalia Re Chhalia" and "Naina Lad Jaihen" (in this one you get Dilip Kumar dancing, yay!) just didn't get me moving. foot was taping, but I expected more.

Overall, there are more ordinary songs than good songs. The album flows very well and I am sure Naushad put effort into this soundtrack.


Side 1

1. Lata Mangeshkar: Dagabaz Tori Batian
2. Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi and Chorus: O Chhalia re Chhalia
3. Lata Mangeshkar & Chorus: Jhanan Ghoongar Baje
4. Mohd. Rafi: Naina Lad Jaihen

Side 2

5. Lata Mangeshkar: Do Hanson Ka Joda
6. Hemant Kumar & Chorus: Insaf Ki Dagar Pe
7. Asha Bhosle: Tora Man Bada Papi
8. Lata Mangeshkar: Dhoondo Dhoondo Re Sajna

Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

Stella_1's score: 3.5/5

Get the music now: Naushad Gunga Jumna

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Re: My ten favorite Helen songs

Thanks so much Memsaab for doing such a very good job with your wonderful post My ten favorite Helen songs. From Memsaab's list I especially like the Upasna and Apradh songs ( it' so bad most people don't even know that the second (Helen song from Apradh) is where the Black Eyed Peas took there inspiration (or copied) for the song "Don't Funk with My Heart", plus the intro to 'Don't Funk with my heart" is the beginning of "Yeh Mera Dil" from Don 1978). Anyway, thanks for those. But after seeing it I wanted more. There are so many more delightful songs from Helen of Bombay that I could not resist. I just had to post them.

My choices where made according to the music, the visuals and the Helenness (which I prefer with the kitsch turned a little bit down).

Here are my picks.

10. Jewel Thief (1967)
Good music by S. D. Burman. I want those tights!!!

9. Sachchai (1969)
Helen and a blue haired Shammi Kapoor.

8. Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)
Appearance by K. N. Singh (bad guy in Awaara).

7. Who Kaun Thi (1964)
Love the 60's look.

6. Don (1978)
A classic, I love this song. Asha Bhosle and Helen together equals magic.

5. Geeta Mera Naam (1974)
Again great music, also Helen dancing with a fat man in a skin-tight one piece suit. What more do you want?

4. Talash (1969)
Helen at her cabaret best.

3. Hulchul (1971)
This is simply a great musical story with Helen telling us to all get along, OR ELSE! BOOM! And I would not contradict miss Helen.

2. Caravan (1971)
Oh Monica? My Darling! Classic.

1. Anamika (1973)
This is my favorite because the music (R. D. Burman) and the little story mix so well, you just want more.

Also, I drew this picture of Helen a while ago, and I forgot it was from which movie. Does any one know? Thanks

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Books on Indian Film: Part 1 - History

Book 2: Bollywood: A History (2006)

Written by Mihir Bose in 2006, with lots and lots of help (a whole chapter is dedicated to the people inside bollywood). Bollywood: A History focuses on different subjects such as the beginning of the Indian film industry, the film studios, he lightly touches films like Mughal-e Azam and Mother India and he also writes about the change after independence and so on.

Mihir Bose is a writer who specialises in sport. He is not a film scholar, but he is a good writer. His style is light and flowing, so no one should have a problem reading this book. It is much less school oriented then Indian Film (published by oxford university press, read post) this one is more open to the general public. For more information on Mihir Bose, just visit his web site.

Oh, god, don't get me started on the UK cover. that almost naked and wet Rekha?! Come on, I want a book that sells for it's content, not it's cover. But one thing I did realise is that Bollywood, through history, has objectified women, and in that sense the cover fits just "nicely" with what it's talking about. But, I still prefer the to dry and breast covered Rekha.

Pictures - Uk Edition (Tempus) and India edition (Roli Books)

One other thing that bugs me is the title and the content don't match 100%. Especially if the title is Bollywood: A History (the history part, is not just history). History is present in the book, but in, what I felt, was a tainted form. You couldn't help but doubt the accuracy of some things that were written because it felt more like information in the "He said, She said" category. An example of this is the speculation of the Lata Mangeshkar and C. Ramchandra romance. Lata does not mention it in her biography and C. Ramchandra is dead, while there is no actual proof, you can call this information a rumor or a hidden secret, but not history. Most of the facts are taken from other peoples work or written in quotes from people in the industry.

Anyway, gossip and rumors themselves have there place in the book. Like in the prologue, which is read more as a long magazine article (though at the end it gets more serious), is about Bose's interview of the then rising start Madhuri Dixit and how he made her cry in in front of Sunil Dutt because he asked her "So, how do you feel about being the new sex symbol of Bollywood?" He also writes about Pamela Bordes, a once Miss India turned high class escort that created much scandal and excitement at the time.

The most interesting chapter, for me, was "The Road to Bombay via Munich and London" is about the pre-studio and studio days of the educated Devika Rani and her husband Himanshu Rai. I love that Rani worked with German directors Fritz Lang and G. W. Pabst, (wow, sooo jealous!)

Anyway, what I think would have made the book better is if the titles would represent the content. Basically the problem is Bose claims to write about many events and personalities in each chapter but actually he focuses on one.

some examples are:

"The Road to Bombay via Munich and London" - Devika Rani and Bombay Talkies

"Blondes and Brunettes: Bollywood's White Woman" - Fearless Nadia

"The Explosion of the Bombay Film Song" - Lata Mangheshkar

You end up expecting a lot more then what you get.

Also the title Bollywood A History should be changed to "People who Shaped Hindi Cinema" or something like that. At least it wouldn't be false (and the book would have probably gotten a better rating from me).


Really fun and easy to read.

More explanation was written for beginners in this area if world cinema.


The author is not an expert of cinema.

The UK cover can't make me take his book seriously.

Gossip and personal experiences instead of history.

I felt that the chapters or at least there titles where not representative of what you where about to read. For example, one chapter on Bombay Film Music was mainly on Lata Mangeshkar, so if you were looking for information, let's say on R. D. Burman, you get like five lines.

Other reviews

Here is an another review of Bollywood: A History, written by Chandrahas Choudhury, on his blog The middle Stage, who I think has a similar opinion to mine.

And, here (you will need to scroll down), a review by journalist Jai Arjun Singh on his blog Jabberwock.

Stella's score: 2.5/5 (for people who actually know about the history of Bollywood)

3.5/5 (for beginners)

Friday, September 19, 2008


Hello, since some of you have suggested a donation link, I have put one up on the side bar. This is strictly for people who can give money or who are financially at ease. Anything goes, 0.05$ or 5$, it doesn't matter. Once I have reached my goal, or almost, I will remove the link, buy a record player and I will go back to posting albums.

Thank You
Sorry, I can't take your money, I think it's just a matter of principle. I though I could, but it just doesn't feel right. It's weird because I don't have much money and I can't take any money. Anyway, I declined all donations and deleted the link.
Sorry for that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Desktop Backgrounds

Hi there,
I made these backgrounds if anyone is interested. There are 2 sizes. The first is 800 x 600 pixels and the second is very large but fits for any widescreen desktop (you need to compress it).

To download the image, just click on the one you want and then right click, press Save As and Save it in a file on your computer.

The first is taken from the Awaara(1951) poster with Nargis and Raj Kapoor.

800 x 600


The second is from the Lajwanti (1958) poster starring a beautiful portrait of Nargis.

800 x 600


The third is from the poster of Madhumati (1958) with Dilip Kumar in the center, Vyjayantimala on the left, Pran in the left corner and Johnny Walker in the right corner.

800 x 600


Hope you like them! My favorite is the second one. Enjoy.


I don't have many bollywood artifacts from the past but here are a few.

The first image is the cover of a synopsis booklet to Raj Kapoor's film Barsaat (1949). It has the synopsis written in English , Hindi, Bengali, and Urdu.

On the back there is a vintage ad for the film Badal (1951), starring Madhubala and Prem Nath

After, is the cover of a song booklet again for the film Barsaat(1949).

On the back are pictures of Madhubala, with a photo of Dev Anand, the lovely Geeta Bali and the character actor Rashid Khan from Baazi (1951) directed by Guru Dutt.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Books on Indian film: Part 1 (or the lack of good books on indian cinema)

Introduction (and complaint)

A while back I had an assignment to write on Raj Kapoor and his films for a cinema class. And I very soon came to the conclusion that there isn't much out there for people that need serious info on Indian cinema or subjects strongly related to Indian film, such as studies on it's music, gender relations, religion, sociology, philosophy etc. These subject are important because a whole state of mind is unconsciously portrayed in mass and popular Indian cinema. For a film to be seen and accepted by the people of India of all castes, religions, ages and sexes means that the commercial cinema of India brings together universal indian and human values shared by all. It would not take long to figure out what these values are because they are expressed in cinema on the 1st degree. But what is more interesting is the cinema that speaks out, that is unclear and experimental. Cinema that is independent from the major studios and also challenges the mind. That is what usually attracts film scholars*, therefore writing books on cinema.

* I just want to mention that I think every film, even if they are big blockbusters, like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Dilwale Le Jayenge or Devdas could easily have many layers and underlined meanings and opinions, but I personally believe that there is not enough dept (compared to independent cinema) to attract film scholars to study the films in further detail.

But alas, it seems that not much serious work has been printed up to date (in English or French anyway). Many books claim to talk about Indian Cinema, but too many are voiceless and empty books pretending to be about Indian film. This makes it hard for me to learn correctly and traditionally about Indian cinema.

So this series of posts is dedicated to various books, good one's (the one's worth reading) and bad one's (the one's to avoid). I think that many authors took the opportunity to write about Bollywood or popular Indian cinema just to capitalise on the growing international phenomenon. So let's try and focus on the real books.

Book 1: Indian Film (1963)

One of the first and oldest books (in English) on this subject, is called Indian Film written in 1963 by Erik Barnouw and S. Krishnaswamy (son of film director, K. Subrahmanyam). My verdict? Basically, I loved this book. There is so much info cram packed about the Indian film industry in every page that you just can't stop reading it. It is so great!

The topics in the book include, History, Studios, Societies, Feuds, Specific Industries (Hindi, Tamil, Bengali), Actors, Industry Insiders and Workers, Producers, Music, Financial Structures (including black-money) and Censorship.

One chapter that I find interesting is called "Ordinary, Decent, Superdecent" (p.168) . It's a brief overview about women and there place in Indian cinema thought history. It starts with naming a few of the first screen stars of the of the silent era. Some examples are, Sita Devi (Renee Smith), Sulochana (Ruby Meyers) and Lalita Devi (Bonnie Bird). Most of which were Anglo Indians (no caste and outcasts by both Indian and English society) because not even Indian prostitutes would go into film. Later, in the 1930's, Durga Dhote and Devika Rani, changed the perception of women working in Indian cinema by being both of the Brahmin caste (high caste) and were accepted as film stars. But after the war, women were categorised and payed differently depending on five categories. The classes and there daily wages where, "Ordinary Girl" 5R, "Decent, class C"10R, "Decent, class B"15R, "Decent, class A" 20R and "Superdecent" 25R to 40R. Also, if you could dance that was a plus. Now (late 40's- early 50's and beyond), the film industry had women from all background appearing and working in Indian cinema.

Oh yeah, the next two chapters, "Pagents for our Peasants" (p.172) and "O Divine Tamil"(p.177) are great too, they are about the rise of Tamil cinema, and it's invasion on the Hindi film Industry during the late 50's, but you will have to read those on your own.

Pictures - First Edition, 1963 and Second edition, 1980


The book talks about a variety of symbols in Indian cinema and there historical, political, religious or social meanings. So foreigners, like me, can understand the films better.

The books is so rich because of the number and quality of interviews it used, like Bimal Roy, Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Shivaji Ganeshan, C. Ramchandra, Salil Choudhry, James Ivory, Ismail Merchant, Shashi Kapoor, K. A. Abbas, Mehboob Khan, Durga Dhote, Devika Rani... and more.

Downside (0r perks)

Even if it is not necessary to have a background in film studies, you could encounter problems or confusions while reading the book. It is very useful, when reading Indian Film, to have some good knowledge of the history of cinema and it's main figures in Hollywood and the world film industries a like.

One thing that it does not do, is analyse specific films in detail. It's not a book about certain people or specific films. So if that is what you are looking for, this is not the book for you. (It didn't help me for my essay on Raj Kapoor and his films.)

Since it is an older book, some facts might be outdated. Although it was republished in 2001-2002, I do not know if it was reedited and updated for the present times.

Stella_1's score: 4.5/5

Next is Bollywood: A History by Mihir Bose

Monday, September 8, 2008

Little problem

Hi everyone,

I know it's been a long time since I posted an album but I have one little problem, I don't have a record player. And basically for financial issues (primarily paying university) I can't really spend on things that aren't necessities. I will try and save up enough money to be able to start posting records in October. I am very very sorry for the wait.

But in the meantime here are some records I will be posting next (not in definite order)

*I don't have the exact scans or pictures of my records, so I just took some pics off the Internet.

Also, I will be posting about books on Bollywood, Indian cinema and Hindi film music.