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Last Updated: Friday, 9 December 2005, 17:28 GMT
Bollywood gets new UK guide
By Aliya Nazki
BBCUrdu.com

Bollywood book
The book lists some of Bollywood's most influential films
The British Film Institute has recently added a list of the top 100 Bollywood films of all time to its popular Screen Guides series.

The Bollywood Screen Guide reflects the work of key Bollywood directors, major stars and significant music directors and screenplay writers.

Historically important films have been included along with selected cult movies and top box office successes.

The list has been put together by Rachel Dwyer, a reader in Indian Studies and Cinema of London University's School of Oriental and African Studies.

Ms Dwyer has researched and published several articles on Bollywood and has written a book on one of the industry's most famous directors, Yash Chopra.

She says that the criteria on which she chose these 100 films are varied.

"Some films, like Mughal-e Azam (one of her personal favourites) are obvious choices because of their influence and popularity."

Landmark films

Explaining her decision not to include any silent films in her list Ms Dwyer says that she wanted to include films that are still relevant and accessible to everyone.

I would say that my perspective on Bollywood is that of an outsider who is no longer on the outside.
Rachel Dwyer

"I have chosen some films because they proved to be landmark films in that they spawned imitations, or were representative of an era in Indian film making.

"I have also tried, where possible, not to repeat stars and directors in an effort to make the list as comprehensive as possible."

However, this was obviously not always possible.

There are more than a few movies featuring superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the list, for example. That, Ms Dwyer says, is a reflection on his huge influence on Indian cinema.

Ms Dwyer's personal favourites include the historical Mughal-e-Azam as well as such classics as Amar Akbar Anthony, Andaaz, Pyaasa and Waqt.

"Mughal-e-Azam is a hugely important film in that it showed Muslims as part of India's historic and social fabric. It emphasised India's pluralistic past and showed Muslims not as invaders but as patriots," she says.

Spurring debate

Ms Dwyer says her perspective on Bollywood is different from Indians because she is differently placed.

Amitabh Bachchan
Several of Amitabh Bachchan's films find a mention

"My initial interest in Bollywood stemmed more from intellectual curiosity than an enthusiasm for Hindi films.

"But I would say that my perspective on Bollywood is that of an outsider who is no longer on the outside. I know a lot of people and after a while it becomes difficult to write about them because you know them so well, you are so closely involved."

She feels that one of the greatest things about the Hindi film industry is that it is part of a greater debate within the country and society.

"There is always a conversation going on in India which essentially revolves around films. Different audiences respond differently and there is always a dialogue going on.

"When I am in Mumbai and a new film is out I realise that I talk to almost everyone about it - from my scholar friends to my taxi driver."

SEE ALSO
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14 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Bollywood star gets film festival
07 Apr 05 |  Entertainment
Bollywood glamour in Indian elections
06 May 04 |  Entertainment
Bollywood star eyes up Hollywood
16 Mar 04 |  Entertainment

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