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Under the shadow of the Bollywood tree

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(Vol 26 No 2)

Under the shadow of the Bollywood tree

Bollywood! The term itself is contentious. Does it denote a certain type of film made in India? Or only those made in Mumbai? Only Hindi films made in Mumbai? Or all Hindi films from other places as well? Despite the apparent confusion, there is something distinctly ‘Bollywood’ about a certain kind of movie that is difficult to distil on paper yet recognisable when one encounters it. Beyond questions of style, geography and language there remains a lively debate surrounding Bollywood. Is it India’s best export? Or does it prevent the growth and recognition of other cinemas? Are its facile plots and orthodox outlook an escape, or a reinforcement of regressive values? In this, the centennial year of Bollywood, Himal thought it appropriate to look at, beyond, under and around it.

Himal’s fourth quarterly issue offers articles on what Maldivians are watching, Afghanistan’s relationship with Bollywood (more complex than a simple love affair), the rescue of Delhi’s cinema halls by Bhojpuri Cinema, Bhutan’s burgeoning independent film scene, as well as an impassioned defence of the much-maligned song-and-dance sequence. As always we offer a host of other articles on issues throughout the Southasian region.

Kanak Mani Dixit on Kathmandu and the reality of Bollywood

Avijit Ghosh on the remembrance of things future

Tariq Rahman on the languages of Lollywood

Oishik Sircar on the seductions of the Neoliberal Nation

Debojit Dutta on the rise and fall of Assamese fi lm

Laxmi Murthy on deadly love

Haroon Khalid on patriotism and the Pakistani cinema

Reena Mohan on the importance of being idyll

Vijay Prashad reviews Faisal Devji on Pakistan as a political idea

Amita Baviskar reviews Cheryl Colopy on dirty, sacred rivers

Manjula Padmanabhan’s fiction

Rudra Rakshit on supply chain stories

Manjula Padmanabhan‘s short story Freak

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