Wednesday, October 24, 2007

King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema - Anupama Chopra

The Basics: The King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema, Anupama Chopra, 2007, 250 pages, hardcover

How I found it: This book was mentioned by another book blogger, lotusreads so I thought I'd check it out. I grew up in the multi-cultural city of Vancouver, and often watched Bollywood music videos on TV, so I was already interested in Bollywood in general.

What's it about?: This is part biography of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, and part history of Bollywood from its origins in the '20s to the present. It is written to cater to readers who have no working knowledge of Bollywood and its culture, so I guess it is primarily for a Western audience.

Did I like it?: I didn't particularly enjoy this book. While it wasn't bad, it just wasn't good either. It is written well, and organized well, but I'm not really sure who this book is for. If you are a fan of Shah Rukh, the book is probably too much of an overview and tells you things you already know. If you don't know much about Shah Rukh, as I did, you are presented with only an idealized picture of him. As well, it is unclear how the Bollywood history piece fits into a biography like this one.

Will you like it?: If you are interested in Bollywood, this might be a good read. However, I am sure there must be better books on the history of Indian cinema. If you are interested in learing about Bollywood, renting a film is probably a much more entertaining way to go about it.

But don't take my word for it: The usual industry blurbs from amazon, a review from the New York Times, and one from the Delhi based Hindustan Times.

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