Nominated | Book Awards 2020 | English Non-fiction
'Picture abhi baaki hai... '
If there's one experience that unites India, it is cinema. In Reel India, award-winning film critic Namrata Joshi journeys through the interiors of the country intimately chronicling little-known accounts about the nation's incessant obsession with the movies.
In Lucknow, she encounters a Shah Rukh Khan fan who has embraced an alternate reality in which he lives and breathes the star. In Wai, she finds an entire economy fuelled by the film industry as the town transforms into a film set. An activist filmmaker in Odisha demonstrates how he teaches local tribal people the basics of his craft, empowering them to train the spotlight on issues threatening their habitat and livelihood. From the fever pitch of the 'first day first show' in makeshift halls to the rivalries of regional cinema, this is India's immersion in the movies like it's never been seen before.
Filled with real-life stories that are as fascinating as the revelations and insights they offer, Reel India raises the curtain on the starry-eyed dreams and big-screen passions that live on after the final 'cut' is announced.
Namrata Joshi is associate editor - cinema and a film critic with The Hindu. A member of FIPRESCI, the international federation of film critics based in Munich, she has been a member of its critics' jury at multiple film festivals across the world. She has also been on the selection committee for films at the International Film Festival of India, Goa, in 2008 and 2012. A Charles Wallace India Trust fellow and a Chevening scholar, she won India's National Award for Best Film Critic in 2004. Namrata has contributed pieces to various anthologies on Indian cinema, and currently resides and works in Mumbai.
Anyone who has grown up on a staple diet of Hindi films through the 1970s and the 1980s knows the difference between the real and the reel and is also aware that never the twain shall meet. Much has changed since that generation grew up and as it happens, the two have met. Namrata Joshi’s Reel India: Cinema off the Beaten Track tries to capture the meeting of these two worlds by journeying through the interiors of the country intimately chronicling little known accounts of India’s obsession with the movies.