Author: Ashok Raj
Publisher: Hay House
ISBN/UPC (if available): 81-89988-33-6
A comprehensive, reel-life chronicle of Hindi film heroes and a kaleidoscopic view into the fascinating world of Hindi cinema.
While Volume 1 covered the period from the silent era to the legendary Dilip Kumar, this volume depicts the evolution of the Hindi film hero from Amitabh Bachchan to the present. The author contends that the development of Hindi cinema as a powerful expression of popular culture has been largely centred round the frontal figure of the hero.
Beginning with the transition from Dilip Kumar to Amitabh Bachchan, Ashok Raj focuses upon the latter, whom he considers a colossus in Bollywood. He projects Bachchan as the dominant hero (mainly in the form of the angry young man) in the late 1970s and 1980s, along with the political and socio-economic scenario then prevailing that lent authenticity to such an image. Bachchan’s foray into a variety of genres (such as romance, comedy and crime) is then described as also his roles as a senior artiste.
Next, his contemporaries come into the picture. For instance: the macho and versatile Dharmendra (who entered Bollywood as a hero almost a decade before Bachchan), the reliable Vinod Khanna, the charming Shashi Kapoor, the ‘explosive’ Shatrughan (Shotgun) Sinha, the cuddly but highly talented Rishi Kapoor, the debonair Feroz Khan and his brother Sanjay Khan.
The author then moves on to other heroes such as the ‘cute’ Biswajit, the strapping Joy Mukerji, the jaunty Jeetendra and the nimble-footed Mithun Chakraborty. Next in line are Raj Babbar, Amol Palekar, Vinod Mehra, Vijay Anand, Randhir Kapoor, Rakesh Roshan, Parikshat Sahni, Anil Dhawan, Navin Nischal, Deepak Prashar, Sachin, Kiran Kumar, Vijay Arora, Raj Kiran and Kumar Gaurav. Lesser known faces such as Sudesh Kumar, Ashok and Dilip Raj are also mentioned.
Next appear the ‘durable’ heroes such as Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff who are followed by the new-age heroes: the Khans (Shahrukh, Aamir, Salman and Saif Ali) as well as Ajay Devgan, Govinda, Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna and Bobby Deol.
In the new millennium emerged a new brand of heroes – including Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Viveik Oberoi and John Abraham, apart from Shahid Kapoor, Tusshar Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Zayed Khan, Abhay Deol, Shreyas Talpade, Emraan Hashmi and Jimmy Shergill – on whom the spotlight then falls.
The author rounds off the text by finally bringing into the limelight ‘misfit’ but highly accomplished and proficient heroes such as Kamalahasan, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpai, Kay Kay Menon, Arshad Warsi, Rahul Bose and Irfan Khan.
The riveting narrative, which covers a broad canvas from the 1970s onwards, also presents an incisive analysis of the current trends in mainstream Hindi cinema.
This is a work that no one (film buff or not) can afford to miss.
Chapter 1 – Dilip Kumar to Amitabh Bachchan – The Search for Continuity
Chapter 2 – The Colossus Called Amitabh Bachchan
Chapter 3 – Film and Portrayal Diversity in Amitabh Bachchan’s Cinema
Chapter 4 – The Influence of Dilip Kumar on Amitabh Bachchan
Chapter 5 – Amitabh Bachchan’s Contemporaries
Chapter 6 – The ‘Modern’ Hindi Film and the Search for the ‘Modern’ Hero
Chapter 7 – The ‘Durable’ Heroes
Chapter 8 – The New-Age Heroes
Chapter 9 – The New – Millennium Heroes
Chapter 10 – The ‘Misfits’
Appendix – Amitabh Bachchan – Filmography