Hindi Action Cinema

Hindi Action Cinema

Industries, Narratives, Bodies
Valentina Vitali
Distribution: Global except Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Publication date: 05/14/2010
Format: Paperback 25 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22222-0
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Valentina Vitali presents the history of Bombay action films, posing new questions about the relationship between movies and their socioeconomic context. She considers how action gained prominence as an ingredient in film narrative, one that made it easier to produce and market films. She traces the emergence of the stunt film in the 1920s; examines the presence and function of women in action roles from the mid-1920s to the end of the 1930s; and analyzes the socioeconomic factors responsible for the films and for the popularity of figures such as Master Vithal, Ermeline, Fearless Nadia, Dara Singh, and Amitabh Bachchan as well as other, more contemporary figures.

Author Bio

Valentina Vitali is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of East London. She is editor (with Paul Willemen) of Theorising National Cinema.


“Impressive . . . clear and accessible.”
 — M. K. Raghavendra, winner of the National Award for Best Film Critic, India

“An original piece of work which is pioneering in its study of the importance of exhibition and distribution to the Hindi film industry. ”
 — Rachel Dwyer, SOAS, University of London

“This book presents the history of Bombay action films, juxtaposing movies and socioeconomics, from the emergence of stunt films in the 1920s to women in action roles in the 1930s. It considers how action gained prominence as an ingredient in film narrative, one that made it easier to produce and market films.”

“Hindi Action Cinema is an intellectually challenging work that will reward the attention of readers whose interests range from South Asian studies to global film and broader issues in the contemporary analysis of culture, society, and economy.Nov 2011”
 — Journal of Asian Studies

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Table of Contents

Note on the Transliteration of Film Titles and Names
1. The 1920s
The 1910s
The 1920s
The Action Ingredient
Sharda Film Company and Master Vithal
2. Women in Action Films in the 1920s and 1930s
The 1930s
From Artistic Pictures Corporation to Wadia Movietone
Fearless Nadia’s Stunt Films
3. Interlude: The 1950s
The Bombay Film Industry during Nehru’s Administration
Post-Independence Euphoria and the Marginalization of Action
4. The 1960s
The Bombay Film Industry in the 1960s
The Economy in 1960s India
Dara Singh and the Hindi Small-budget Film
Dara Singh’s Wrestling Films
5. The 1970s
The Literature on the ‘Angry Young Man’
Indira Gandhi’s U-Turn
The Bombay Film Industry in the 1970s
The Action Films of Amitabh Bachchan
6. Contemporary Action Cinema

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