Skip to main content

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Bollywood’s India

Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Bollywood’s India

Hindi Cinema as a Guide to Contemporary India

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 illustrated Bollywood’s Indiaexamines 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 cinema’s interpretations of India over the last two decades are a reliable guide to understanding the nation’s changing hopes and dreams. She looks at the ways Bollywood has imagined and portrayed the unity and diversity of the country—what it believes and feels, as well as life at home and in public. Using Dwyer’s two decades spent working with filmmakers and discussing movies with critics and moviegoers,Bollywood’s India is an illuminating look at Hindi cinema.

296 pages | 80 halftones | 6 x 8 | © 2014

Film Studies

Reaktion Books image

View all books from Reaktion Books


“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.”

Arjun Appadurai, New York University

“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.”


“As Dwyer shows in her superb book, Bollywood’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-perceptions—from class, gender, and caste to geopolitics—both recorded and created by Bollywood’s factory of illusions since the early 1990s.”

Bloomberg View

Table of Contents



1. Unity: The Nation, Its History and Trans-nationalism

2. Diversity: Region, Caste and Class

3. Religion: Myths, Beliefs and Practices

4. Emotions: Sadness, Anger and Happiness

5. Home: Romance, Love and the Family

6. The World: Education, Work and Lifestyle

7. Agneepath/The Path of Fire, 1990-2012


Further Reading



Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press