When Ardh Satya Met Himmatwala – Avijit Ghosh


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The 1980s. In Hindi cinema, it was the decade of the dark and powerful police drama Ardh Satya. It was the decade of the kitschy excess of the action comedy Himmatwala. It was a decade of opposites.

It was a time when the best of New Wave 2.0 won acclaim and awards across the globe, and B-grade ‘sex films’ drew crowds into rundown small-town theatres; when ridiculous lyrics set to ‘disco music’ created massive chartbusters, and the poetry of Kabir, Tulsidas and Faiz also found space in film songs.

It was a time when Amitabh Bachchan’s injury had all of India praying for a miracle; when Peter Pan Jeetendra was spending more time shooting in Madras than in Bombay; when Rekha still ruled but Sridevi was rising to superstardom; when Naseer, Shabana, Om and Smita were the Fab Four of arthouse cinema; when the flamboyant dancing stars Mithun and Govinda brought a whole new aesthetic to Bollywood; when North and South met and mated like never before.

It was a time of furious change beyond the silver screen, too: video cassettes brought cinema to drawing rooms and bedrooms; television and one-day cricket emerged as fierce competition to films; piracy put movie theatres in crisis; film stars were elected to the Indian Parliament in surprising numbers.

In this thoroughly researched and entertaining book, Avijit Ghosh, author of the acclaimed bestsellers Cinema Bhojpuri and 40 Retakes, narrates the fascinating story of perhaps the most eventful, disruptive and transformative decade of Hindi cinema.


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