06 December 2011

Review: Bollywood Boy by Justine Hardy

Genre: The stated genre is Travel, but Film and Social History could just as well apply
Year published: 2003

A glimpse of the Hindi movie industry’s newest heartthrob, Hrithik Roshan, sent Justine Hardy on a year-long exploration of the whole Hindi movie phenomenon. She interviewed people in the movie industry, including a film journalist, a small-time director, actors and actresses and a former movie choreographer, to gain insight into the industry, but it is her interviews and conversations with the ordinary people, the fans, that are the most interesting and illuminating. Always at the centre of the narrative is Roshan and Hardy’s ever more comical attempts to get an interview with him (it took a loooong time).

In the end we don’t get a very deep insight into Bollywood, just a look at the surface glamour and glitter, with the occasional deeper glimpses of the dangers involved (organised crime both extorts money from the film-makers and backs their projects) and the dark side of an industry that chews up people and spits them out much like its Hollywood counterpart.

This is a well-written and often funny romp, with occasional very serious subjects thrown in for balance, and makes a fine appetizer for people wanting to get a taste of the Hindi film industry without digging too deep. 3+ stars.

P.S. If anyone can recommend a book or documentary that gives a more in-depth look at the Hindi film industry, please leave the title in a comment.

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