Temples of Desire
By Vijay Mishra
Routledge – 2002 – 320 pages
India is home to Bollywood - the largest film industry in the world. Movie theaters are said to be the "temples of modern India," with Bombay producing nearly 800 films per year that are viewed by roughly 11 million people per day. In Bollywood Cinema, Vijay Mishra argues that Indian film production and reception is shaped by the desire for national community and a pan-Indian popular culture. Seeking to understand Bollywood according to its own narrative and aesthetic principles and in relation to a global film industry, he views Indian cinema through the dual methodologies of postcolonial studies and film theory. Mishra discusses classics such as Mother India (1957) and Devdas (1935) and recent films including Ram Lakhan (1989) and Khalnayak (1993), linking their form and content to broader issues of national identity, epic tradition, popular culture, history, and the implications of diaspora.
"…the particular strength of Bollywood Cinema, indeed, is the plurality of critical perspectives brought to bear and the author's ability to synthesize them into a coherent whole." -- James Chapman, Film International
"…the book…rewards the reader with provocative ideas on a dozen topics: anticolonial and postcolonial struggles, melodrama, gender roles, patriarchal power, androgyny, gothic style, diaspora, and of course particular movies (like Mother India) and stars (like Amitabh Bachchan)." -- CHOICE, P.H. Stacy, University of Hartford
"A masterly synthesis of existing scholarship on Bombay cinema as well as a timely exploration of the growing importance that this cinema is assuming in the Indian diaspora. . . . an engaging study." -- Sumita Chakravarty, New School University
"Here, finally, is a book on Bollywood that is written for those who have experienced Bollywood as well as those who are strangers to that phenomenon. Mishra's analysis of Bollywood cinema is a considerable one within a handful of such analyses emerging today from within academe. It has in it something for the film historian, the curious newcomer, the fan, and the critic." -- Sonora Jh-Nambiar, Seattle University, Communication Research Trends
Vijay Mishra is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. He is author of The Gothic Sublime.