New Delhi: The most memorable films in the history of Bollywood that mesmerized the audience for decades are now on paper. "Deewaar", "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" and "Disco Dancer" have been launched as monographs by Harper Collins under its India Film Series.

Yash Chopra’s 1975 film "Deewaar", one of the most iconic and influential works of Amitabh Bachchan, has been (to borrow a line from the film itself) the 'lambi race ka ghoda'.

Its remarkable plot, crisp dialogues and epic narrative structure, revolving around the familiar story of two brothers whose paths diverge and lead to a fatal collision, have endeared it to millions. And its most famous line, 'Mere paas ma hai', has been endlessly imitated, parodied and referenced in cinematic and cultural works.

However, as author Vinay Lal demonstrates in his study of "Deewaar", the film lends itself to much more complex readings than is commonly imagined.

The attraction of 'Deewaar' stems, on the one hand, from its deep structuring in the mythos of Indian civilisation; on the other hand, it works at an elemental level, reminding us that however bound we may be to orders of rationality and the materiality of everyday life, we can never fully run away from chance, destiny, fortune and serendipity," Lal writes.

Examining it in the context of the history of Hindi cinema, the migrations from the hinterland to the city, and the political and socio-economic climate of the early 1970s, he draws attention to the film's dialectic of the footpath and skyscraper, the mesmerizing presence of the tattoo, the frequent appearance of the signature and the film's deep structuring in mythic material.

In doing so, the associate professor of history at the University of California assesses the unique space of "Deewaar" in popular Indian culture as much as world cinema.

In the 1980s, an unheralded Hindi movie, made on a budget of less than Rs 7 lakh, went from a quiet showing at the box office to developing a reputation as India's definitive black comedy. Some of the country's finest theatre and film talents – all at key stages in their careers – participated in its creation, but the journey was anything but smooth.

Among other things, it involved bumping off disco killers and talking gorillas, finding air-conditioned rooms for dead rats, persuading a respected actor to stop sulking and eat his meals, and resisting the temptation to introduce logic into a madcap script. In the end, it was worth it.

Kundan Shah's "Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro" is now a byword for the sort of absurdist, satirical humours that Hindi cinema just hasn't seen enough of. This is the story of how it came to be despite incredible odds – and what it might have been.

Writer Jai Arjun Singh's take on the making of the film and its cult following is as entertaining as the film itself. "The film 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro' used humour for potent social commentary and to skewer holy cows. It made us chuckle along with it, even as it held up a distorting mirror to society," Singh writes.

In the glory days of socialist India, where the Hindi film industry churned out hero versus system stories, "Disco Dancer" turned that concept virtually on its head.
    
Part screenplay, part interviews, some analysis, this book by playwright Anuvab Pal tries to understand what it was about this film that drove Osaka, Japan, to build a Jimmy
statue, stadiums of devout Russian fans for three generations to go into raptures when it came on, and for millions from Dubai to San Francisco to know only this movie, when anyone mentioned Bollywood.


(Agencies)