The Essential Mystery: Major Filmmakers of Indian Art Cinema
John W. Hood
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

A comprehensive overview of Indian art cinema, this substantially revised and updated edition takes a critical look at the major filmmakers of the genre. The film directors who form the corpus of this new edition now include among others Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Govindan Aravindan, Aparna Sen, Girish Kasaravalli, Govind Nihalani, Ritwik Ghatak and Buddhadeb Dasgupta. A final chapter critically examines the works of filmmakers not as prolific as those mentioned earlier—Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Goutam Ghose, Ketan Mehta, Manmohan Mahapatra, Nirad Mahapatra and Shaji Karun. Nevertheless they have in their oeuvre, films marked by their excellence. The detailed filmography at the end of the book is a valuable addition for students and scholars of cinema and film aficionados. John Hood’s critical analysis of each filmmaker’s work is lucid and meticulous. The amazing availability of the films under study on DVD, have made this vast treasury of films accessible to the reader. The objective of this book is not to decode each film or provide the right answers—only sensitive responses—and to promote an enhanced appreciation of Indian art cinema.

John W Hood was born in Melbourne in 1944. He studied at the University of Melbourne majoring in Philosophy and Indian Studies. His PhD thesis on Bengali vernacular historiography, focussed on the work of the late Professor Niharranjan Ray. He has written extensively on Indian cinema, his published books include Chasing the Truth: The Films of Mrinal Sen (1993), The Films of Buddhadeb Dasgupta (2005) and Beyond the World of Apu: The Films of satyajit Ray (2008).

He is also a well-known translator of Bengali literature, having translated the poetry of Buddhadeb Dasgupta and the novels and short stories of Buddhadev Guha and Prafulla Roy. John Hood divides his time between Melbourne and Kolkata.

Preface ix
1. Indian Art Cinema: An Introduction 1
2. Ritwik Ghatak 15
3. Satyajit Ray 50
4. Mrinal Sen 112
5. Adoor Gopalakrishnan 157
6. Shyam Benegal 197
7. Govindan Aravindan 255
8. Girish Kasaravalli 292
9. Buddhadeb Dasgupta 344
10. Govind Nihalani 401
11. Aparna Sen 440
12. Some Eminent Others 477
13. Some Closing Remarks 542
Filmography 554
Index 615

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