The Politics of Hindi Cinema in the New Millennium: Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian Nation

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Oxford University Press, 2014 - Hindi language - 264 pages
This book charts out a new direction in scholarship on Indian cinema. It argues that with mainstream Hindi cinema becoming 'Bollywood' and the diaspora becoming a key commercial factor, the constituency addressed by the mainstream Hindi film has significantly changed. Consequently, theaudience for Hindi cinema has become more asymmetric. With the emergence of a new knowledge economy in the 1990s and Indian professionals traveling and settling abroad, a new 'Anglophone Indian Nation', the one with the greatest spending power, was born. Where mainstream Hindi cinema had beenregarded as a pariah by the Indian state, the commercial success of Bollywood globally gave it immense respectability in the government. This work expresses the hope that understanding such an asymmetry will help us appreciate some of the alignments in India and the political forces which oftenmasquerade as 'opinion'. Apart from bringing out the transformation of the mainstream Hindi film after it became 'Bollywood', the book provides fresh insights into political developments in India in the past decade outside cinema.

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Bollywood’s Politics Among English Speaking Indians In 21st century
By Utpal Dutta
Of late, the word ‘Bollywood’ is branded as a medium of entertainment, and noted writer MK Ramchandran
precisely avers that the word Bollywood relates to the ‘mainstream Hindi’ cinema. It seems producing Hindi movies in an extravagant way, with the heady concoction of dance, song, costumes and colours, is its foremost theme. Bollywood, thus, has not remained confining only to cinema, but has successfully established itself as a ‘lifestyle statement’ even in the political sphere.
Over the last two decades of the twentieth century---Bollywood movies have successfully garnered a large number of audiences in foreign shores—through shooting in foreign studios and locations, support from various governments, among others. Hosting of award ceremonies in foreign lands, coupled with Bollywood’s penchant for Oscar nominations have made Bollywood familiar to international audiences.
The eminent film critic and researcher MK Raghavendra in his book titled “The politics of Hindi Cinema and the new millennium” with a sub-head “Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian”, has extensively and lucidly penned the shift in the cinema’s landscape with the dawn of the 21st century. The sub-head clearly mirror the politics of cinema, Bollywood, the English speaking Indians and the author’s approach towards Hindi cinema. The multiplex culture in India has generated new English speaking patrons of Hindi language cinema along with the English speaking international audiences. This book would provide an insight into the political strategies that the Hindi cinemas need to resort to retain its audiences, and hidden aspects of some popular Hindi films.
Bollywood’s politics is all about the politics of its establishment, also aiming to execute policy, which can help in making Bollywood’s presence firm both in its own land and in overseas. It, too, includes the tactics of making its foundation firm in Bollywood. MK Raghavendra in his book even emphasised the presence of strong political gamble in Bollywood, though appears simple in its outlook.
The film critic in his book elucidated the secret of Bollywood politics, considering the box- office accomplishment of nearly 30-odd films that were produced between the years 2001 to 2013. MK Raghavedra also discussed the Bollywood’s myth associated with horror based movies, as it is considered ‘C’ grade and of ‘less production value’. This industry, the author mentioned, has shunned those conventional attitudes with the glamorous production of the horror film like ‘Raaz’. A host of films like— Jism, Kabhi Albida Na Kahena, Dhoom-2, Guru— have together been meticulously brought under the umbrella of discussion by the writer. They are perhaps not of higher standard, but the writer felt it worth to talk about in order to establish his views. He felt the importance of writing even on films that failed to taste the seed of success in box-office. The critical approach towards a film cannot be bad, even though a film is not successful. The writer, most of the time, has followed this philosophy which helped him to strongly establish his views. His ‘authorship’ is very well reflected in his writings. For this one can cast a glance at its preface. He has clubbed several movies of similar nature under one head. This head highlights two things at the same time-- the political strategy of Bollywood and curious mindset of the author. The novelist points out three films namely --- Banti Aur Babli , Dhoom-2 and Guru--- to establish the fact that even films based on burglary can be commercial successful, along with its political strategy to reign in Bollywood. These three movies come under one blanket ‘thieves like us’. The film Guru that was produced based on the life of famous industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani and very few can boldly dare to label him as a thief.
While taking into account, for discussion, an array of 30 different films Raghavendra never diverted as regards
 

About the author (2014)

M K Raghavendra is a film critic, researcher, and scholar.

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