Cover: A Bollywood State of Mind

A Bollywood State of Mind

A journey into the world’s biggest cinema
Sunny Singh


£20.00 | 19 October 2023 | ISBN: 9781804440421


£15.99 | 19 October 2023 | ISBN: 9781804440452

‘Prepare to laugh, sob and dance: this lively history of Indian cinema is imprinted with the memories of a life-long cinephile.’ The Telegraph

‘A gem of a book and a must for film lovers everywhere’ Abir Mukherjee

‘My biggest recommendation of the year. Sunny Singh’s honouring of story and history shine through powerfully – an exquisitely enjoyable read’ Nikita Gill

Like all Indians, Sunny Singh was born and brought up in a country of film fanatics. She and her friends waited impatiently for the latest releases, listened to the songs on radio and wore clothes inspired by those seen on screen. They learned about India and the world, determined their enemies and friends, and chose their moralities thanks to films.

A Bollywood State of Mind is a personal, intellectual and emotional journey which crosses five continents and 50 years of modern Indian history and cinema and explores why Bollywood means so much to so many across the globe. Sunny describes how this exceptional cinema retains its hold on the national imagination, how Bollywood has enhanced India’s global standing in the 21st century, and how its characteristics endure despite the social and political changes.

Ranging over history, aesthetic theory and politics, A Bollywood State of Mind explores encounters with Bollywood in the market places of Dakar and Marrakesh, in the nightclubs of New York, Barcelona and Mexico City, and in the ruins of Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Petra and beyond. It shows how the pioneers and heroes of Bollywood cut across national, linguistic and cultural lines not only in India but in far reaches of Somalia, Peru, Malaysia and Russia.

”Bright, brilliant and beautifully researched, this glorious book is my biggest recommendation of the year. Sunny Singh’s honouring of story and history shine through powerfully – an exquisitely enjoyable read!”Nikita Gill

”Singh’s book is an unrivalled celebration of Bollywood films…the nostalgia unfurled the sepia vignettes of memory from a distant almost forgotten past into the glittering joy of the present day”Shobna Gulati

”Part history, part personal reminiscence, A Bollywood State of Mind is a thoughtful, magical journey through the annals of the world’s largest, most spectacular and most vivacious film industry. A gem of a book and a must for film lovers everywhere”Abir Mukherjee

”A masterful memoir, Singh’s love story with Bollywood is one told with precision, authority and panache, capturing the all-singing, all-dancing joy and wonder of Indian cinema”Monisha Rajesh

”A deeply personal, deeply political dive into one of the most popular forms of entertainment today. Part memoir, part film criticism, part cultural excavation, Singh writes with passion, clarity and introspection”Nikesh Shukla

”This is a gorgeous, perfect, mini-blockbuster of a book that tells story upon story within story of India’s beloved Hindi cinema and all those who make and love it, in India and wherever they – we! because I count myself among its lovers – have travelled all over the world. Part personal and family memoir, part social history of modern India and its neighbours and diasporas, part expert (but never, ever stuffy) analysis of how India’s classic dramatic storytelling aesthetics have morphed into modern cinema, part close explanation of the cinematic techniques makers use to entrance and enfold their audiences – Sunny Singh’s genre-defying book gets to the essential emotional heart – the rasa – of Bollywood cinema. I loved this joyful, wonderful book with my whole heart.”Dr. Katherine Schofield

About the Author

Sunny Singh is a writer, novelist, public intellectual, and a champion for decolonisation and inclusion across all aspects of society. In 2017 she launched the celebrated Jhalak Prize for literature by writers of colour. She is also a founder of the Jhalak Foundation that is focused on a range of literary, artistic and literacy initiatives in the UK and beyond.

She is the author of three critically acclaimed novels – Nani’s Book of Suicides, With Krishna’s Eyes and Hotel Arcadia.

Sunny was born in Varanasi, India. She read English and American Literature at Brandeis University in the USA before gaining a Masters in Spanish Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and a PhD from the Universitat de Barcelona. Sunny lives in London where she is Professor of Creative Writing and Inclusion in the Arts at the London Metropolitan University.

Sunny Singh