Monday, May 06, 2024

Announcing The Swinging Seventies, a book about 1970s Hindi cinema

A big fat sumptuous book that means a great deal to us film-buffs associated with it (and should come to mean a lot to many readers) is out now: The Swinging Seventies, co-edited by Nirupama Kotru and Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, is a collection of writings – from personal essays to interviews – centred on the Hindi cinema of that wide-ranging decade.

In February this year Nirupama, Vishal Bharadwaj and I participated in a Jaipur Literature Festival discussion around the book, though it wasn’t yet available. Now it’s here, huge and gleaming, more than 600 pages, and with an impressive roster of contributors. We had a big launch at the India Habitat Centre on May 4, with as many of eleven of the writers present. Nirupama, Uday Bhatia, Gautam Chintamani, Kaveree Bamzai, Aseem Chhabra, Avijit Ghosh and I were on the panel, and many wise words were said (least of all by me – I kept my speech short). Here is a nice write-up about that event by the blogger/reviewer Arushi Barathi (this made me nostalgic about my early years in blogging, 20 years ago, when I used to write quite a bit about the events I attended, even if I wasn’t covering them professionally).


My piece in the book is a personal essay about a particular audio-cassette of my childhood, which also tries to make a broader point about the role that imagination plays in our film-watching, or in our engagement with cinema: what is it like, for instance, to listen to a film before you actually watch it? To construct a film in your own head. But there is plenty more in the book – you can gape at the contents pages and the list of contributors on the Amazon pre-order link, which is here. Please look out for the book, and spread the word to all the movie buffs you know (both those who love 1970s Hindi cinema *and* those who look down on it or are suspicious about its “relevance”).

Vignettes from Jaipur and Delhi below. And here is the link to our short session at JLF in February.

1 comment:

  1. Arushi Barathi (TheBookBrewer)5:05 PM, May 07, 2024

    Thanks a lot for mentioning me sir! And yes, this book is definitely going to mean a lot to young readers like me who haven't been lucky enough to experience the 70s for themselves!