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King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema Hardcover


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King of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan and the Seductive World of Indian Cinema + Still Reading Khan + The Inner Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446578584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446578585
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although he's not a household name in America, Shah Rukh Khan, sometimes called the Tom Cruise of Hindi film, is a world-famous superstar, the kind who generates Elvis-level hysteria wherever he goes. Born in New Delhi in 1965, Shah Rukh grew up loving movies, with American John Travolta and Bill Cosby among the stars he admired. After graduating from high school, he moved from theater to television to movie acting, gradually finding his niche with brooding antihero roles, the sort that other actors rejected for fear of spoiling their leading-man image. As Shah Rukh has became a bigger star, playing a variety of roles, he also helped the industry expand. His films range from traditional themes (Asoka) to remakes of classics (Devdas), song-and-dance romances and even Mission Impossible–type films like Don. Chopra, a Mumbai-based freelance journalist who comes from a filmmaking family herself, offers readers both the life story of Shah Rukh and a condensed history of the Indian film industry. Even if you know nothing about Indian cinema, her prose style (Bollywood now recoiled from the mafia like a man shrinking from a sore-covered leper on the street) makes this a bizarrely fun read. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Chopra, a Mumbai-based freelance journalist who comes from a filmmaking family herself, offers readers both the life story of Shah Rukh and a condensed history of the Indian film industry. Even if you know nothing about Indian cinema, her prose style ("Bollywood now recoiled from the mafia like a man shrinking from a sore-covered leper on the street") makes this a bizarrely fun read PUBLISHERS WEEKLY --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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All condensed in a very enjoyable reading material.
Karina Navarro
It is the movie which launched Shak Rukh Khan to superstardom and is the longest running movie in Indian Theaters (its still running to this day).
Romy Cat
Interesting look at the rise of an important figure in Bollywood film through the work of one of its most charismatic actors.
Sunshine Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Virginia K on July 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I looked forward to this book, and I wasn't disappointed. I am a fan of its subject, India's most charismatic film star, and also of the author, who writes often for the New York Times, among other places, about the Bombay movie world.

There are lots of great stories about Shah Rukh packed into King of Bollywood , nice pictures too, but the book is about India and Hindi language popular movies made in Bombay, from the greatness of the 50s (barely known in the west - too bad) to the pretty severe non-greatness of the 80s, as much as it's about Shah Rukh and Hindi films today. Its easy, entertaining, and accurate telling of the story make it the first book on the subject I'd think of giving to a friend who is not a Hindi movie fan

It is true that Shah Rukh has "an Elvis-like effect" -- I saw it first-hand when he shot a film in New York -- and Chopra has some ideas about what goes into his being such an icon for India right now.

If Elvis' power had something to do with "a black soul in a white body", Shah Rukh, she says, presents something like an Indian soul in a western persona. Particularly in a handful of crucial roles created for him by a couple of inspired young directors*, Shah Rukh is the face of "a glittering new India," with a soaring economy and a middle class almost as big as the whole population of the US.

In movies that are like fairytales for all ages, the romantic characters that sealed Shah Rukh's superstardom live in great wealth in London or New York, but resolve their dramatic crises in an entirely Indian way.

Interestingly to me, a big percent of the still-small number of westerners in the Hindi movie audience were drawn there to start with by just these films.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By --corinne-- on August 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Coming in at 250 pages, Anupama Chopra's authorized biography of Shah Rukh Khan covers from his parents' courtship in 1959 to January 2007. Ms. Chopra adds more details to Shah Rukh Khan's familiar backstory: on his father's business ventures, Shah Rukh's time at St. Columba's School, his parents' illnesses & deaths, & Shah Rukh Khan's training as an actor & his first steps in Mumbai. Several facets of Shah Rukh Khan's career are highlighted, particularly his daring acceptance of the anti-hero roles in Baazigar & Darr, the importance of Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra, & Karan Johar in the creation of his screen persona, being contacted by the Mumbai mafia, box office slumps, in India, during the Dreamz Unlimited period, & resurgence with Veer-Zaara & Devdas. One gets new details on SRK's life & career but many questions go unanswered, like how did Shah Rukh train to dance, which parent did he inherit his dimples from, & what is a shooting day like on set?

Anupama Chopra's writing is skillful, so much so that I wished this biography was 3-4 times longer & more academic & detailed. There are no endnotes or footnotes within the chapters, but there is an extensive bibliography, arranged by chapter, at the back of the book & a list of people interviewed. There is information on Khan's parents that I had not read before, but Shah Rukh Khan's statements appear to be from past interviews. There are new photographs in the book provided by family & friends of Khan. I wish Ms. Chopra had given more information on the evolution & workings of cinema in Mumbai, on Shah Rukh Khan's & his family's personal lives, & on the family clans that dominate Hindi cinema. Neither her treatment of Shah Rukh Khan's career to present nor the discussion of Hindi cinema in Mumbai feels complete. However, I thoroughly enjoyed her writing (& the thoughtful translations of Hindi words & movie titles) & recommend the book for those who enjoy Shah Rukh Khan's work & Bollywood movies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Magalini Sabina on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bollywoodmania is an addiction. For Westners that will discover and appreciate it in the next years (and be sure they will!) it is the disclosure of a fairytale world of moviemaking that was there all the time but that we simply didn't know. Well, when this will happen the first and probably most important gateway will be the actor and the movies interpreted by Shahrukh Khan. And after having seen some of these, no one will be able to resist curiosity on this great actor.

Anuparma Chopra is a member of the Chopra family that makes up the establisment of Bollywood and is also an estimated journalist. From her priviledged point of view she has written this biography of the still young King Khan integrating his personality with the history of Bollywood cinema in the last 20-30 years. Naturally, the biography is authorized and as such may not contain episodes that are not consistent with the image modern Bollywood and Shahrukh Khan want to convey. All the less, there is a sincerity that transpires throughout the book and allows the reader to connect with the actor and his environment.

The first part on the youth of the actor is full of episodes and sometimes takes on a mythical aspect, but that is a common feature of all biographies. The chapters on the later years are a little sketchy and skip many well known facts. But we must not forget that this book has and will have a different impact on Indians or the Indian-culture public and "Westner's". The Author wanted to write about something new or at least not well known to her main public, that practically reads at least two or three articles a day on Shahrukh Khan. Reading the Indian reviews of the book that criticize the small amount of new information this aspect is very evident.
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