ibnlive » Chat

3 pm Jun 29, 2012

On 100 years of Indian cinema

Chat with authors Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli on their latest book ‘Mother Maiden Mistress: Women In Hindi Cinema, 1950-2010’ at 3 pm this friday.
21 questions answered
  • What is your favourite part of the book? Asked by: Ravi
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli I like all the sections but where we break the stereotypes i would say is my fav part.
  • Why did you pick a topic which has been spoken about so many times? Asked by: Pallavi
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli i disagree. there are many books on women in cinema but this is the only one which portrays women characters in cinema.
  • What inspired you guys to write a book Bollywood Actresses over the years? Asked by: Nistha
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli i had a vague skeleton of the book in my mind and some pages of a different structure ready. i was working on 2 more books and casually mentioned to my friendShabana azmi. She said if you do a book on women it shuld be the best book.my co-authors and i produced the best.
  • Can you please share the inspiration for your book? Asked by: Neel
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hindi cinema is the inspiration. we almost saw the ghosts of madhubala and meena kumari come alive. s j and i walk talk and breathe hindi cinema
  • what is your next project? Asked by: Priyanka
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli i have submitted 2 projects to harpers lets see when they are ready to release them. also im working on my first fiction. lets see how long it takes.
  • Could u briefly tel us what is the book about? Asked by: Anjali
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli about women characters in cinema post partition to now
  • Can you guys tell me who is your favorite actress? Asked by: Sunil
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hi, this is supriya here answering. Favourite actress...hmmm tall order... in our book we look at women characters through six decades and so we ended up having a favourite actress every decade. I am not sure but I think Jigna's is Madhuri Dixit! As for me, so many of them, - Asha Parekh, I love her mischievous characters in the 60s; then there is Madhubala, love her pictures especially with Kishore Kumar. And Madhuri of course again, she is a fantastic actress. I wish she would come back. Smita Patil and Shabana Azmi - can anyone beat them! This would end up being another book :) so wrapping it up here.
  • If you had to chose a particular era in Indian cinema as the best, which one would you choose? Asked by: Mallika Roy
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hi Mallika, Supriya here. Ummm I am a black and white fan so I really love the 40s and the 50s but if I were to choose then I would take the seventies. It was a tremendous period for Indian cinema. Especially with the new age cinema transforming the cinematic language - we had new directors and new films from Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Hindi. And these films brought in an alternative space, a different aesthetic and a radical new look at how films can be made and how stories could be told. These films also influenced the structure and narrative of commercial cinema in the years to come.
  • how do you think cinema has changed over the years?? Asked by: Neha Punj
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hey Neha, Supriya here. Good question but requires a long answer. Let me attempt. Indian cinema has changed over the years... our book itself looks at those changes over six decades of post-independence India. The changes have happened in the way films are being thought about, being made - both in terms of stories-content and in form what with radical changes in technology especially digital technology. In the beginning say 30s till 50s cinema was basically about telling the story - more like a televised version of a play. Then in the 50s masters like Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor began to use the camera and lighting and shot composition to tell the story through the medium of cinema. They began a new language - the language of cinema. Then you had Satyajit Ray who rocked Indian cinema with his Pather Panchali... bringing in his own dialect of the cinematic language. By the seventies, there were two distinct forms of cinema - commercial mainstream cinema and the 'serious' art cinema each exploring the medium of cinema in their own way. In the 80s and 90s, Cinema grew more populist and geared to be only entertaining dropping the lessons learnt through the decades. But post-millenium again you see the development of different kinds of cinema, you have the anurag kashyap/dibakar banerjee kinds, you have the karan johar/yash raj films kind, you have Q aka Kaushik Mukherjee/Amitabh Chakraborthy kinds of experimental cinema.....
  • How long did it take to write the book? How did you conduct the research? Asked by: Priyanka
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli It took more than three years. Research began with identifying films and seeing them, selecting them and watching them again and again. Once we were sure of the characters we want to talk about, we saw the films, again. Then we looked into the history and social context and connected the way the women characters were developed with them.
  • I'm agree with you Supriya! My favourite is Madhuri ji and Shabana ji. My next question is have you tried to personally meet most actress to understand their characters better? Asked by: Sunil
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Bhawana met with each actress in our book whom we wrote about in our character sketch. lot of indepth interview sessions!
  • Bhawana, being a movie critic, do you think the quality of lead actresses has fallen over the years? Asked by: Nikhita Singh Le Bron
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hi Nikhita Jigna answering here we have studied women characters and there has been many lows and few highs in the graph. We can create many good characters however the focus is much on the hero.
  • I think you have done a brilliant job with the book. But how tough was it to collect all such information for this book on Heroines? Asked by: Samuel L Jackson
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Thanks so much. Well, since it was about women characters, it was basically about watching their films over and over. Which we being film buffs loved. But if you are talking about our character sketches, then Bhawana met each of them personally and there were lot of intense interview sessions
  • Have you purposely timed the release of your book in such a way that it coincides with 100 years of Indian cinema and hence drives up sales? Asked by: Pareenita Kaul
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Oh, it was a happy coincidence. Our book, was ready a year ago but complications led it to be being published this year. But we are not complaining, Women characters required a book in this year.
  • Who do you think is the most prominent female character in Indian Cinema? Asked by: Neha Punj
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hi Neha, there are many to start with Mother India definitely set the tone for many women characters to come. there are many before Mother India too. but the commercial success and Nargis essaying the role set the stage for women characters
  • Have you only focused on only the good characters in indian cinema? or have you thrown light on the so-called 'vamps' and bad characters of our beloved Bollywood? Asked by: Mallika Roy
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hi Mallika, We have focussed on women character and that includes all the good the bad the rebel the game changer. we have seen women characters in all shades
  • How do you think the introduction of item numbers has changed the way cinema-goers view Indian actresses? Asked by: Sonu Aggarwal
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hi Sonu good question! Item numbers have upped the star value of the actress since there is no character shaping involved. The item number is to lure the audience much like the free gifts you get on a product. in the earlier decade you had vamps who did item numbers but they also essayed a character in the movie. Today they are just added attraction
  • which actress has inspired you the most? Asked by: Sanya
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hi Sanya, Our inspiration has and is the character the women portrays. for me the most inspirational character was Madhuri Dixit in Mrityudand. Thanks tot hat i too k up cinema as my profession
  • Hi Madam, do you thinks the actresses do bad things in movies to get more money? Asked by: shilpa devi
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hi Shilpa No. Money is the least consideration here.
  • Which female actress is most similar to her onscreen characters in real life? Asked by: Abhishek
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli hi Abhishek, have not seen things on personal level. We have just looked at characters alone
  • Who is the main conceptualiser behind the beautiful cover of your book? Asked by: Roxy
  • Bhawana Somaaya, Jigna Kothari & Supriya Madangarli Hi Roxy The cover design is by Mugadha Sadhwani. She is done a beautiful job!