Books about Indian Movie Actresses

lives-of-women india remarkable-women memoirs-by-women bollywood
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Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence

by Maithili Rao

About the book:  In the three decades since Smita Patil died-at the impossibly young age of thirty-one-she has unwaveringly been one of Indian cinema's biggest icons. That is unusual enough for a 'parallel cinema' actor, rendered more remarkable in a career that spanned a mere ten years. Patil, one of the leading lights of the New Indian Cinema of the mid-1970s, has a body of work that would make veterans proud. Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence tells her remarkable story, tracing it from her childhood to stardom, controversial marriage and untimely death. Her close friends remember 'Smi' as outspoken and bindaas, not beyond hurling abuses or taking off on bikes for impromptu joyrides. Film-makers like Shyam Benegal and Jabbar Patel, and co-stars Om Puri and Shabana Azmi talk about Patil's dedication to her craft and her intuitive pursuit of that perfect take. From the difficult equation she shared with her mother to her propensity for 'wrong' relationships, about which she was always open unlike other stars of the time, this is a complex and honest exploration of Patil's life. The book also includes a sharp critique of the films that defined her. They read like a roster of the best of New Indian Cinema: Bhumika, Mandi, Manthan, Umbartha, Bhavni Bhavai, Akaler Sandhane, Chakra, Chidambaram and Mirch Masala among them. Maithili Rao also examines Patil's many unfortunate forays into mainstream commercial cinema. Incisive and insightful, Smita Patil: A Brief Incandescence is an invaluable addition to film studies in India, bringing alive an entire era when cinema in India was truly different. It is also the definitive biography of a rare talent and a haunting life.

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Rekha

by Yasser Usman

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Meena Kumari

by Vinod,Mehta

About the book:  The Life and Times of India's Greatest Tragedienne Vinod Mehta's riveting account of Meena Kumari's life begins with her death, weeks after the release of her swan-song Pakeezah. He goes back in time to Meetawala Chawl in Dadar East, where she was born, and to the flats and mansions she lived in, the studios where she worked, the hospital where she died and the cemetery she was cremated in. Having never met the star, Mehta talks to all those who were close to her - her much-maligned husband Kamal Amrohi, her sisters, her in-laws, her colleagues and co-stars - to create a complex portrait of a woman who carefully cultivated the image of someone 'unfairly exploited and betrayed by her lovers and lady luck'. It was a picture that blended with her on-screen persona. The media had, after all, already anointed her Hindi cinema's 'great tragedienne'. First published in 1972, this revised edition comes with a fresh introduction by the author and introduces a legend of Indian cinema to a new readership.

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Leela a Patchwork Life

by Leela Naidu

About the book:  Leela Naidu was listed as one of the five most beautiful women in the world by Vogue magazine. But she was much more. She was the fine- boned, haunting face in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anuradha;

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Helen

by Jerry Pinto

About the book:  Main Saare Zamaane Ke Gham Ki Dawaa Hoon. (I Am The Cure Of All The Sorrows Of The World.) Lyrics From Helen S Song In The Film Adhikaar (1971) 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 An 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 Bollywood? How Could Otherwise Conservative Families Sit Through, And Even Enjoy, Her Cabarets ? What Made Helen The Desire That You Need Not Be Embarrassed About Feeling ? How Did She Manage The Unimaginable: Vamp Three Generations Of Men On Screen? Equally, The Book Is A Wonderfully 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.

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I Want to Live

by Khatija Akbar

About the book:  Madhubala – the very name conjures up vivid images of a love goddess possessing bewitching beauty, dazzling radiance, subtle sensuality, and, above all, a tantalizing screen presence. Her ‘reel life’ histrionic performances held (and continue to hold) audiences/viewers entranced. Her talent was phenomenal, and she could literally glide through a movie, whatever be the role. She could convey an impressive array of emotions with her eloquent eyes and facial expressions without resorting to melodramatic contortions. Tragedy, romance, comedy, drama, and what have you – she could take everything in her stride, exquisitely and flawlessly, as convincingly proved by superhits such as Mahal, Tarana, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi and the magnum opus, Mughal-e-Azam. All this she achieved despite a major heart disease, which assumed serious proportions as her career soared. This volume presents a fascinating panorama not only of the ‘reel life’ Madhubala but also of the ‘real life’ Madhubala, who was an extremely compassionate and caring human being, but lived in the shadow of her dominant father. The author recounts her captivating saga, right from her first film – Basant (1942), as a child star, up to the magnificent Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and beyond. Enthralling cameos from her masterpieces such as Mahal, Mr & Mrs 55 and Amar, are depicted in graphic detail. Also, all the drama involved in her love affair with Dilip Kumar, which culminated in intense acrimony, has been poignantly portrayed. The last few years of her life were spent in virtual solitude in spite of her being married to Kishore Kumar, and death, in a way, came as a release for her.

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Suchitra Sen: The Legend and the Enigma

by Shoma Chatterji

About the book:  Arguably the greatest star of Bengali cinema, Suchitra Sen mesmerized audiences for years, before withdrawing from the public gaze and refusing to emerge in the limelight in the last decade of her life. In this nuanced biography, Shoma Chatterji unveils the two different dimensions of the Suchitra Sen persona: as a legendary romantic star with an audience pull spanning over two decades, and her slow but steady metamorphosis into a powerful performing artist through films like Deep Jele Jai, Hospital, Mamta and Aandhi who could seamlessly and effortlessly essay completely different characters without the on-screen partnership of Uttam Kumar. Award-winning author and film critic Shoma Chatterji presents a fascinating portrait of an icon of Indian cinema, addressing two significant elements that have not been touched by other writers: Suchitra Sen as a working woman in films and her wilful social seclusion.

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Women in Indian Film: The rise of Mumtaz

by Nasreen Munni Kabir (Ed.)

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The Style Diary of a Bollywood Diva

by Kareena Kapoor

About the book:  Kareena Kapoor was born to be a star! In her first-ever book, the ultimate glamour girl lets you into her fabulous life and reveals her best-kept style and beauty secrets. Bebo’s fashion, beauty and make-up tricks and tips! Get a Size Zero body with Bebo’s diet and fitness regime Replicate her looks from all her hit films Learn about Bebo’s must-visit hotels and restaurants Learn how to treat and dress your man right and the inside story of the romance with Saif Ali Khan

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Anusual: Memoir of a Girl Who Came Back from the Dead

by Anu Aggarwal

About the book:  Anusual is the story of Anu Aggarwal, the dusky Delhi girl who went to Bombay and became an international model, and then a star with her very first Bollywood movie, Aashiqui, only to chuck it all up and join a yogashram.Coming back to Bombay, she was involved in a horrifying car crash that put her in a coma for twenty-nine days. Miraculously, the girl who broke into a million pieces recovered, and put the pieces of her life back together, first taking sanyas and then returning to Bombay to teach yoga. This fascinating story of a woman's self-discovery, a near-death experience and amazing recovery is told in a straight-from-theheart, unbuttoned style, including details of the men in her life, from millionaire jet-setters to superyogis. In the end, as she says, love is all there is.

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Bonding... A Memoir

by Vyjayantimala Bali

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Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema

by Mekhala Sengupta

About the book:  Working as a maid to pay for her meals at the age of six and living in a notorious neighbourhood known for its brothels, Kanan Devi was the unlikeliest superstar. She had no lineage, no godfather and no resources to draw upon. Yet, beginning as a child artist at the age of ten, she rose to become one of the biggest screen divas of her time, commanding a fee of Rs 1,00,000 for a song and Rs 5,00,000 for a film. She was eventually feted with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Kanan Devi: The First Superstar of Indian Cinema is the incredible story of Kanan Devi's ascent as she went on to star and sing with stalwarts of the era like K.L. Saigal and Ashok Kumar, among many others. She became the voice of the musical works of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, R.C. Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Kamal Dasgupta and many others and must be credited with bringing Tagore and Nazrul directly to the public arena much before their respective works had evolved into what is now called Rabindra Sangeet or Nazrul Geeti. Kanan Devi was not only one of the few stars to have been successful both in silent films and the talkies, she was also one of the few artists to be internationally recognized in Hollywood magazines as a gifted singer and actor, hobnobbing with the likes of Vivien Leigh. But it is not only her cinematic achievements that set her apart. She was a woman of many dimensions: a fashionista, a producer who made many successful films in the fifties and sixties, a philanthropist for women in theatre and film-centred welfare projects, and a feminist before the word gained currency, walking out of relationships when they came in the way of her profession. She possessed astute financial acumen and, remarkably for a woman of her time, managed her own investments and income. Mekhala Sengupta's well-researched account not only brings to life a fearless pioneer who fought stereotypes to live life on her own terms, but is also a loving ode to a lost era of Indian cinema.

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My Homage to All

by Kanan Devi

About the book:  Kanan Devi, one of the early singing stars, came into the film world in the silent era and, unlike many others, survived the transition to talkies. Reduced to working as a domestic help after the death of her father, her life took a dramatic turn when she was offered a film role and, encouraged by her uncle, took it. In this lively and candid account of her experiences (originally published in 1973 as Shobarey Aami Nomi), Kanan Devi recalls the early days of cinema in Bengal, analysing and comparing conditions of film acting in the early 1930s with what she saw about two or three decades later when she herself was a producer and director, with her own film company, Shrimati Pictures. This fascinating and unusual story offers not only a different perspective on the growth of the film industry in Bengal but also a first hand account of the position of women who came into the public sphere in the early decades of the last century. Published by Zubaan.

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I, Durga Khote

by Durga Khote,Shanta Gokhale,Gayatri Chatterjee

About the book:  I, Durga Khote is a candid, lively, insightful, and sensitive account by one of the most respected and loved stars of Hindi and Marathi cinema, of a professional career that spanned 50 years and a personal life that moved luxury to near penury, and back again.

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Kaifi and I

by Shaukat Kaifi

About the book:  From the heart of a well-known family of Hyderabad to life in a single room with the barest of necessities, Shaukat Kaifi's memoir of her life with the renowned poet Kaifi Azmi speaks of love and commitment. A marriage of over a half a century, a life steeped in poetry and progressive politics, continuing involvement with the Indian People's Theatre Association, the Progressive Writers Association, Prithvi Theatre... all of these and more inform this beautifully told tale of love. Shaukat Kaifi's writing details life in a communist commune, a long career in theatre and film and a life spent bringing up her two children, cinematographer Baba Azmi and actor Shabana Azmi. Nasreen Rehman's deft and fluent translation brings this luminous memoir alive with warmth and empathy. "To say that this is a lovely book would be an understatement. It is an enchanting recollection of the life of a hugely talented and sensitive human being, shared with a great poet." -- Amartya Sen. Published by Zubaan.

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Conversations with Waheeda Rehman

by Nasreen Munni Kabir

About the book:  In this highly acclaimed book of conversations with Nasreen Munni Kabir, Waheeda Rehman speaks about her life and work with refreshing honesty, humour and insight: from detailing her personal triumphs and tribulations to giving enthralling accounts of working with cinematic personalities like Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. Against all odds, she successfully made a life in cinema on her own terms. Filled with compelling anecdotes and astute observations, this is a riveting slice of film history that provides a rare view of a much-adored and award-winning screen legend.

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