Essential Reading: Funky Bollywood
I’ve always considered the kinds of zany foreign remakes covered on Deja View to be sort of gateway drugs to the cinemas of other cultures. Seeing India’s colorful song-and-dance interpretations of Harry Potter, Superman, and A Nightmare on Elm Street, for example, prepares us at least a little for Bollywood at large. But once we have a taste for it, where do we go from there? Fortunately, Todd Stadtman’s brand new book Funky Bollywood: The Wild World of 1970s Indian Action Cinema has the answer.
From paisley and flares to swank pads and plush secret lairs, Funky Bollywood is an eye-popping compendium of must-see action flicks from the grooviest era of the world’s most prolific movie industry. In addition to his synopses and analyses, Todd also fills the book with loads of info on all the directors, composers, stars, and tropes that you need to know in order to get the absolute most out of them. (My favorite trope, since you ask, is “Helen.”)
Todd’s writing style is smart but casual — and very funny. And boy does he know his stuff. He’s been blogging about cult cinema for years on his site Die Danger Die Die Kill in addition to contributing to numerous others. He’s basically who I want to be when I grow up.
And if you’re a remakesploitation fan, you’ll particularly enjoy the two bonus sections at the end of the book. One focuses on Bollywood’s various ersatz James Bonds while the other spotlights the so-called “curry westerns.” Indeed my copy of the book arrived literally the day after I marathoned all four Magnificent Seven movies, and you can imagine my delight when I discovered that there’s a Bollywood version, Khotte Sikkay, of which I was completely unaware. (Apparently it also throws in some Sergio Leone for good measure.)
So if balls to the wall, over the top, well-coiffed masala craziness is what you’re after (and it should be!), get Funky Bollywood. You’ll be in the best possible hands.