Synopses & Reviews
Producing Bollywood tells how the Bombay-based Hindi film industry became Bollywood, the global film phenomenon and potent symbol of India as a rising economic powerhouse. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Bombay between 1996 and 2006, Tejaswini Ganti analyzes the social worlds and professional practices of leading Hindi filmmakers. She contends that the Hindi film industry has gentrified in response to India’s neoliberal restructuring, the filmmakers’ aspirations for social respectability and professional distinction, and their efforts to manage the uncertainty of large-scale filmmaking. Until the 1990s, Hindi film was associated with India’s working classes. Since then, as members of the Hindi film industry have identified with and sought acceptance from elite segments of Indian society, exclusionary discourses of respectability, professionalism, and corporatization have proliferated. Distributors have come to value metropolitan and overseas markets at the expense of equally populous provincial markets. By describing dramatic transformations in the Hindi film industry’s production culture, daily practices, and filmmaking ideologies during a decade of tremendous social and economic change in India, Ganti offers valuable new insights into the effects of neoliberalism on cultural production in a postcolonial setting.
andquot;This is the first book on Bollywood to combine a deep knowledge of the dynamics of script, song, stars, and style in this cinematic world with an equally keen sense of the unique nature of the politics, finance, and cultural prejudices of the film industry. It will be an indispensable benchmark for all future studies of Bollywood and of similar cinematic industries worldwide, and it will interest media scholars, anthropologists, sociologists of culture, and the curious general reader.andquot;andmdash;Arjun Appadurai, New York University
andquot;Tejaswini Ganti mines her extensive contacts in an industry generally closed-off to outsiders to provide us with in-depth analyses of the sensibilities, compulsions, and desires of important figures in the film industry, as well as the social practices of film production. Producing Bollywood provides unique insights into the forces that shape the production of films in one of the largest film industries in the world. By going beyond the hype surrounding 'Bollywood' and eschewing simplistic dismissals about escapism and the profit-making drive of Bollywood filmmakers, this book enables us to understand the cultural logics that shape the production of Bollywood film. Based on more than a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in multiple sites of film production, Producing Bollywood is truly a trailblazing work.andquot;andmdash;Purnima Mankekar, author of Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India
andldquo;The book is rich in anthropological and historical data, theoretically astute, accessible, and great fun to read. It is a must for anyone interested in Bollywood or other film industries, and for scholars interested in the effects of neoliberalism and globalization in India. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers.andrdquo;
“[O]ffers extraordinary insight into the production processes of the late 1990s…. [T]he thoroughness and comprehensive review of trends in this book must be highly commended.” Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria - American Ethnologist
is a riveting read. It draws carefully thought outand#160;connections between cultural formations, changing discourses of legitimacy
and nation building. It is to Gantiandrsquo;s credit that she is able to bring rigorousand#160;ethnographic tools to bear upon fieldwork materials put together over a
decade and more.... Overall, this is a timely and much needed insight into the intersections of the political economy of production, consumption and legitimization of mass cultural products. It should interest readers and students of Mass Media, Film Studies, Culture Studies, South Asia, Anthropology and Ethnography.andrdquo;
andldquo;Producing Bollywood is a lucidly written and thoroughly researched ethnography of a film industry whose products are deeply interwoven in the ordinary life and politics of hundreds of millions of people.andrdquo;
andldquo;In Producing Bollywood, the first truly comprehensive ethnographic account of the Mumbai-based film industry, Tejaswini Ganti crafts an ode to an India in deep transition, via the multifaceted lenses of a glamorized and iconic subsection of its Hindi-language filmmakers and actors. . . . [A] landmark study.andrdquo;
“The book invites the reader to delve into the politics, finance, and
cultural logics that shape the production of Bollywood. As a result, the book can potentially bridge the gap between filmmakers and academicians. Both methodologically and theoretically, Ganti’s work is a seminal contribution in the area of academic studies of Bollywood. . . . Ganti’s exhaustive ethnography would be a great source of first hand information for anyone
interested in knowing the shifting terrain of the Hindi film industry.” - Nadira Khatun, eDhvani
andldquo;The book may be useful to anyone interested in sociology, anthropology, cinema, media, communication, cultural studies, development studies and other interdisciplinary ?elds. The book is indispensable for those who still use the terms Hindi cinema and Bollywood interchangeably and ?nd it unproblematic.andrdquo;and#160;
andldquo;Tejaswini Gantiandrsquo;s Producing Bollywood is perhaps the most comprehensive and in-depth account of the Hindi film industry to date...Despite being 440 pages in length, Gantiandrsquo;s accessible writing style makes this ethnography a joy to read.andrdquo;and#160;
andldquo;Filled with first-hand accounts of the inner workings of the vast Mumbai-based Bollywood film industry collected through numerous interviews and extraordinarily extensive fieldwork undertaken over the course of more than a decade of research, Producing Bollywood meets a previously unfilled need on the part of those engaged in studying Indian cinema and culture by letting a large part of this varied and diverse industry speak, as it were, for itself.andrdquo;
andldquo;Gantiandrsquo;s book is a commendable pioneering initiative. It will be useful for students, researchers, and those interested in South Asian film studies.andrdquo;
and#8220;This superb book is everything we could have expected from a major authority on Indian cinema. It shows both how India has shaped Bollywood and Bollywood has shaped the Indian imagination. It will be indispensable for scholars and a delight for the general reader.and#8221;
and#8220;This is a must for any movie buff that is curious in obtaining a more critical understanding of Bollywood and its important connection to India as a nation.and#8221;
andldquo;[O]ffers extraordinary insight into the production processes of the late 1990sandhellip;. [T]he thoroughness and comprehensive review of trends in this book must be highly commended.andrdquo;
andldquo;As Dwyer shows in her superb book, Bollywoodandrsquo;s India
, popular cinema has tracked more closely than any artistic or journalistic medium the public and private lives of the New India, perhaps because it almost completely ignores such everyday Indian realities as violence against Dalits, once known as Untouchables. Dwyer describes a broad range of self-perceptionsandmdash;from class, gender, and caste to geopoliticsandmdash;both recorded and created by Bollywoodandrsquo;s factory of illusions since the early 1990s.andrdquo;
An ethnography of Hindi filmmakers and the Bombay film industry, in relation to issues of modernity, global markets, and the state.
Producing Bollywood is an in-depth ethnography of the Bombay-based Hindi film industry, more popularly known as Bollywood. Taking readers inside this hugely popular global industry, Tejaswini Ganti focuses on the social world and professional practices of Hindi filmmakers. She contends that the industry is profoundly shaped by their immense distain for the industry and their audiences, and the unpredictability of filmmaking. Ganti argues that, in conjunction with the neoliberal restructuring of the Indian state and economy, the filmmakers’ aspirations for social respectability and professional distinction, as well as their efforts to manage uncertainty, have led to the gentrification of the Hindi filmmaking. While industry insiders discuss this process in terms of quality, improvement, and innovation, it has often meant the loss of industry jobs for the poor and working classes. Ganti describes the changes in the industry’s production culture, daily practices, and filmmaking ideologies, and she situates these changes in relation to national discourses about legitimacy and taste. By tracing the transformations of the Hindi film industry through a decade of tremendous social and economic change in India, Ganti provides new insights into the effects of neoliberalism on cultural production in a postcolonial setting.
Producing Bollywood is an in-depth ethnography of the Bombay-based Hindi film industry, more popularly known as Bollywood. Taking readers inside this hugely popular global industry, Tejaswini Ganti focuses on the social world and professional practices of well-known Hindi filmmakers.
Producing Bollywood offers an unprecedented look inside the social and professional worlds of the Mumbai-based Hindi film industry and explains how it became andquot;Bollywood,andquot; the global film phenomenon and potent symbol of India as a rising economic powerhouse. In this rich and entertaining ethnography Tejaswini Ganti examines the changes in Hindi film production from the 1990s until 2010, locating them in Hindi filmmakers' efforts to accrue symbolic capital, social respectability, and professional distinction, and to manage the commercial uncertainties of filmmaking. These efforts have been enabled by the neoliberal restructuring of the Indian state and economy since 1991. This restructuring has dramatically altered the country's media landscape, which quickly expanded to include satellite television and multiplex theaters. Ganti contends that the Hindi film industry's metamorphosis into Bollywood would not have been possible without the rise of neoliberal economic ideals in India. By describing dramatic transformations in the Hindi film industry's production culture, daily practices, and filmmaking ideologies during a decade of tremendous social and economic change in India, Ganti offers valuable new insights into the effects of neoliberalism on cultural production in a postcolonial setting.
explores the nature of mainstream Hindi cinema, now best known as and#147;Bollywood,and#8221; and its non-realistic depictions of everyday life in India. Rachel Dwyer argues that Hindi cinemaand#8217;s interpretations of India over the last two decades are the most reliable guide to understanding the nationand#8217;s changing dreams and hopes, fears and anxieties. She shows how escapism and entertainment function in Bollywood cinema, and what that reveals about Indian life and society.
Bollywoodand#8217;s India looks at the ways in which Bollywood has imagined and portrayed the unity and diversity of Indiaand#151;what it believes and what it feels; life at home and in public. The book is based on twenty years of watching, teaching and writing about Hindi films, working with filmmakers and discussions with critics and fans. Featuring 80 striking images, the book has much to say to scholars and students of Indian cinema who are curious about the ways in which aspects of Indian life and culture are shown on screen, as well as the general reader and fan of world cinema.
Bollywood movies have long been known for their colorful song-and-dance numbers and knack for combining drama, comedy, action-adventure, and music. But these exciting and often amusing films rarely reflect the reality of life on the Indian subcontinent. Exploring the nature of mainstream Hindi cinema, the strikingly illustratedand#160;Bollywoodand#8217;s India
examines its nonrealistic depictions of everyday life in India and what it reveals about Indian society.
Showing how escapism and entertainment function in Bollywood cinema, Rachel Dwyer argues that Hindi cinemaand#8217;s interpretations of India over the last two decades are a reliable guide to understanding the nationand#8217;s changing hopes and dreams. She looks at the ways Bollywood has imagined and portrayed the unity and diversity of the countryand#151;what it believes and feels, as well as life at home and in public. Using Dwyerand#8217;s two decades spent working with filmmakers and discussing movies with critics and moviegoers,Bollywoodand#8217;s Indiaand#160;is an illuminating look at Hindi cinema.
About the Author
Tejaswini Ganti is Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University. She is the author of Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema.
Table of Contents
Introduction. How the Hindi Film Industry Became andquot;Bollywoodandquot; 1
Part 1. The Social Status of Films and Filmmakers
1. From Vice to Virtue: The State and Filmmaking in India 41
2. From Slumdogs to Millionaires: The Gentrification of Hindi Cinema 77
3. Casting Respectability 119
Part 2. The Practices and Processes of Film Production
4. A Day in the Life of a Hindi Film Set 155
5. The Structure, Organization, and Social Relations of the Hindi Film Industry 175
6. Sentiments of Disdain and Practices of Distinction: The Work Culture of the Hindi Film Industry 215
7. Risky Business: Managing Uncertainty in the Hindi Film Industry 243
Part 3. Discourses and Practices of Audience-Making
8. Pleasing Both Aunties and Servants: The Hindi Film Industry and Its Audience Imaginaries 281
9. The Fear of Large Numbers: The Gentrification of Audience Imaginaries 315
Epilogue: My Name Is Bollywood 359