In my many years of voraciously consuming films from all over the world and in numerous time periods there is one big fat blind spot that I have: Bollywood. Sure, I’ve seen a handful of films from India and have really enjoyed the films that I’ve seen but it’s such a huge world of film that it’s always been daunting for me to dive into. There’s also the long run times, varying degrees of budget and quality, and the lack of access here in the states (though in recent years that has changed in a big way thanks to streaming services). In short: I had no idea where to begin. Thanks to Funky Bollywood, now I do.
Funky Bollywood: The Wild World of 1970’s Indian Action Cinema is a reference guide that doubles as a history lesson in Indian films. The book is a true blue treasure for cinema fans. Beautifully assembled with eye popping colors and slick layouts its a feast for the eyes which directly mirrors the vibrancy of Indian cinema. The book treats the reader like a curious person with zero knowledge which lets face it, most of us are when it comes to Indian cinema. He doesn’t talk down to the reader though, he assumes that if you’re interested in action films from India, you’re probably a cinema buff. I never once felt lost either. Everything is so clearly laid out and he does a ton of work to help educate the reader on some of the historical/cultural context of the films as well. He tries to paint a full picture and does so quite well. Each film is hand picked for a variety of reasons which he explains. It isn’t a comprehensive book but that would be overwhelming considering the tremendous volume of films produced in India each year. Besides, we want to know what all the best flicks are, we don’t need to be bogged down by a plethora of reviews for bad flicks. We can get to those after we’ve watched the good ones.
Each review of the film includes an extensive synopsis and a lengthy review along with stills from the film and all the important info about who wrote, directed, starred etc. The reviews also include little signs that denote common themes found in numerous Indian films.
It’s obvious that author Todd Stadtman knows his Indian films backwards and forwards and loves talking about them. The enthusiasm found in the book is infectious. The layout is top notch as is the print quality and binding. But what else would you expect from FAB Press, the premiere funky book publishers?