Book Review: Bollywood’s Top Twenty Superstars of Indian Cinema

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The Book, Bollywood’s Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema has encapsulated profiles of 20 finest.

Be it Raj Kapoor being showcased as awara (vagabond) who is happy with life, singing on the streets or the dream girl of Indian screen Hema Malini, the influence of these thespians on common masses is evident even today in Bollywood (formally referred to as Hindi cinema). The charm for watching the Hindi Cinema in multiplexes with comfortable seats and ambience only means that people are ready to spend more on this form of entertainment.

In the recently published book (by Penguin Viking), Bollywood’s Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema, the author Bhaichand Patel has captured 20 profiles of the finest stars from Indian Cinema, from K.L. Saigal to Kajol. The twenty stars featured in the book is a collection of essays written by renowned writers. The writers have covered not only their struggle but also what made them cross that extra mile and become the symbol of fame.

Author, Mr. Patel is a graduate from the London School of Economics who lives in New Delhi and holds special interests in cinema, theatre and books. A regular contributor to various newspapers and magazines, he has also served on a number of international film festivals as a jury member. During his posting with United Nations, he studied filmmaking at New York University.

Some of the profiles covered include Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Madhubala, Amitabh Bachchan, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Shah Rukh Khan who with their charismatic personality had the aura to have the cinema halls running their shows to their full capacity.

The author has not only captured the personalities’ best times but also their rough and patchy times. For instance, homeless and hungry, Dev Anand also worked in the early phase of his life as a clerk in an accountancy firm and stayed in a Chawl before finding a job in the Military Censor Office. For Shahrukh Khan he admits that the city Mumbai, which refused to give him a job he dreamt of owning the city one day. But, ten years down the line Shahrukh says it is the people of this Mumbai city that own him now.

The book is sold with a free disc of songs of the twenty stars profiled. While some songs bore listeners after a week of their production, others have been soothing the ears of people for the last three decades. Songs featured in the disc are from the movies that failed to make an impact but the magic of their songs still lives on.

The Bollywood’s Top 20 covers the eight decades through twenty stars, men and women who captivated their audiences and ruled their hearts and minds for years.

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