Author: Jerry Pinto
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143031244
It is now over two decades since the Hindi-film heroine drove the vamp into extinction, and even longer since the silver screen was ignited by the true Bollywood version of a cabaret. Yet, Helen--nicknamed 'H-Bomb' at the height of her career--continues to rule the popular imagination. Improbably, for a dancer and a vamp, she has become in icon."
Jerry Pinto's gloriously readable book is a study of the phenomenon that was Helen: Why did a refugee of French-Burmese parentage succeed as wildly as she did in mainstream Indian cinema? How could otherwise conservative families sit through, and even enjoy, her cabarets? What made Helen the desire that you need not be embarrassed about out feeling? How she manage the unimaginable: vamp three generations of men on screen?
Equally, the book is a brilliantly witty and provocative examination of middle-class Indian morality: the politics of religion, gender and sexuality in popular culture; and the importance of the song, the item number and the wayward woman in Hindi cinema.
1. The making of an h-bomb-I.
2. The making of an h-bomb-II.
3. The woman who could not care.
4. 'Main gud ki dali'.
5. Good girls, bad girls.
6. The cure of all the sorrows of the world.
7. She was dying to become a good girl.
8. The comic comes courting.
9. Rolled gold versus gold.
10. Fade out, fade in.
11. The making of a legend.
12. The cult of Helen.
List of photographs.