Books about Bollywood, Hindi cinema and film stars are aplenty in the Indian book market. But some of the top-selling and best ones are far and few between. While some tend to be autobiographical, some tend to have a gossipy angle and others are a collection of interviews.
The number and variety of books about Bollywood have not reached the same level that the West has for Hollywood, fashion and film but the numbers are getting stronger by the day. If you’re a Bollywood buff, a Hindi movie aficionado or just a newbie looking for a Bollywood crash course, here’s the list that you need to refer to.
1. Bollywood: The Indian Cinema Story by Nasreen Munni Kabir
This is one of those seminal works on Bollywood which you must read if you want to call yourself a Bollywood connoisseur. Filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir interviews many top stars, moviemakers and industry mavens to give readers a personal and a bird’s eye perspective into what Bollywood is all about. Interesting facts and inside trivia make this book a must-read.
2. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge: A Modern Classic by Anupama Chopra
Noted Bollywood film critic and writer Anupama Chopra pens an in-depth analysis of the kind of effect that DDLJ has had on an entire generation. From cultural stereotypes to the then state of new liberalization to the upholding of patriarchy, the book touches up on all the nuances of DDLJ, the movie that broke many a records.
3. Bollywood Posters by Jerry Pinto and Sheena Sippy
Before digitization came in, one of the most unique thing about Bollywood was its hand-painted posters that cinema halls mounted on their facades – quite like what a Prisma filter on Instagram can do on a mobile phone today. Jerry Pinto and Sheena Sippy take readers on a vivid journey of the Bollywood poster’s history – a total visual treat for fans.
4. Helen: The Life And Times Of An H-Bomb by Jerry Pinto
Jerry Pinto is a famous Mumbai-based writer and journalist who has penned this memoir on Helen. This little book is perfectly suited for those who are interested in Bollywood history and want to know more about the cultural revolution that Helen brought in Hindi movies as a vamp. This book won the Best Book on Cinema Award at the 54th National Film Awards
5. Decoding Bollywood: Stories of 15 Film Directors by Sonia Golani
Directors are so much more than what we see of them at a press conference or in a TV interview. Solani interviews the best new age directors of the Hindi film industry from Zoya Akhtar to Kabir Khan, from Farah Khan to Rohit Shetty. And of course how can the engrossing stories of the veteran Mahesh Bhatt be left behind? Long-read thorough interviews of these filmmakers will immerse you into their world and show you why and how they became the people they are today.
6. Lights, Camera, Masala: The Insider’s Bollywood by Sheena Sippy
Lights, Camera, Masala: The Insider’s Bollywood by Sheena Sippy is a little delight of a book. For those of you who love visuals, quirky graphics and content presented in an innovative manner, this book is for you. The point-of-view of this book is that of two characters who narrate the journey of making a Bollywood movie in the most amazing manner.
7. Bolly Book: The Big Book of Hindi Movie Trivia by Diptakirti Chaudhuri
Calling all Bollywood fanatics who claim to know everything from the colour of the shirt worn by their favourite Hindi movie hero to their favourite’s star’s birthday! This book will test your knowledge about the minutest detail you know about Bollywood. Case in point – in how many movies was Amitabh Bachchan shown being affected b cancer? Haha, the fun continues…
8. Rang De Basanti: The Shooting Script by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Kamlesh Pandey and Rensil D’Silva
Nothing warms the corridors of a Bollywood buff’s heart like a fully-bounded script. This book is a Bible of sorts for everyone wanting to learn scriptwriting or just wanting to be familiar with how a movie is written.
9. Once Upon a Time in India: A Century of Indian Cinema by Bhawana Somaaya
This book has just been released in the market by Amitabh Bachchan who also graces the cover. Although the reviews of the book are yet to be out, the theme of the book revolves around the 100-year history of Indian cinema as the title suggests. The book is peppered with awesome dialogues, interesting trivia and important milestones.
10. Written by Salim-Javed: The Story of Hindi Cinema’s Greatest Screenwriters by Diptakirti Chaudhuri
Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar are until now the greatest screenwriters of Bollywood. Their partnership gave births to the industry’s most iconic movie and more importantly coined the term ‘The Angry Young Man’ for Amitabh Bachchan, in turn reviving his dwindling career. If you are fans of Sholay, Deewar, Shakti, Trishul and Zanjeer, this is the book that you must devour.