Sometimes the Google powers that be smile upon you and you find two really amazing things quite by accident:
1) Celebrating Indian Cinema, an exhibit at the National Media Museum (UK) last summer. I can't believe there was a Bollywood exhibit and I hadn't heard about it. Now what am I supposed to do for my life's work?!? Anyway, I'm very grateful for its website. I especially liked the interviews with people discussing their filmi memories, growing up watching Sholay, etc. And if you know anyone just getting into Hindi films, this site has good introductory material, including overviews of particular films, directors, stars, and genres here.
2) Bollywood and Globalization, an amazing multimedia presentation by Sharmistha and Soam Acharya about the effects of 1990s economic changes in India on the Hindi film industry, which at the time of writing (2004) the authors say is "emerging from the doldrums." Cartoon caricatures of stars serve as nagivation to the sections of the presentation:
- read and watch examples of the 11 "Rules of Bollywood."
- learn the history in a decade-by-decade timeline. (Fun fact: India first became the biggest producer of films in the world in 1971.)
- weigh the effects on Indian cinema of the internet, cable tv, the rising middle class, and piracy.
- ponder how filmmakers dealt with these crises through less hectic financing systems, exploring new markets, combating piracy, sexing things up, improving production values (clips from Baazigar and Chroi Chroi are offered for comparison), and trying new talents and recipes.
- wonder what the future holds. Aside: Aishwarya is the icon for the site's discussion of the future of Bollywood, while Amitabh is the icon for the history. Hee!