Fragmented Frames (Reflections of a Critic)

Fragmented Frames (Reflections of a Critic)

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Book Specification

Item Code: IDK471
Author: Bhawana Somaaya
Publisher: Pustak Mahal
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788122310160
Pages: 220 (Illustrated Throughout In B/W)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.2" X 6.2"

Book Description


More than 100 years ago when cinema still had to evolve, it was no mean task to get the audience accustomed to the phenomena of moving images. It is said that there wee strange reactions amongst the audience when the first film was screened. While many rushed out of the theatre on the sight of a train approaching a platform, in some other parts of the world, the audience suspected that the theatre was haunted by evil spirits.

Understandably, filmmaking in olden days was not an easy task and people from respectable families refrained from the world of make-believe.

In the late seventies when I became a film journalist, nobody remotely intelligent wanted to be associated with film journalism. The mainstream media considered it below their dignity to feature private lives of celebrities, and the glossies who did so were described 'yellow' journals.

The discrimination continued all through the eighties. Then sometime in the nineties, one still doesn't know why but it became mandatory for leading newspapers to devote a full colour feature to the dream merchants. Initially devised as a respite from the regular serious stories, the readers slowly got hooked on to the trivia involving show business!

Come 2000 and entertainment had consumed the common man. From stray features on news glaze pages on weekends, it had invaded the front-page headlines. Suddenly, the average reader was familiar with not just the superstars but also the business of entertainment. As the budgets of mega movies got bigger and merchandising became the new mantra, writing on cinema transformed into a serious profession.

In the millennium there is a newfound respect for the film critic.

O more is the film critic treated like a pariah or his brand of writing termed 'yellow'. Now he has new epithets like 'trade analyst' and 'historian' added to his by-line and film buffs pause on their remotes to listen to his expert comments on TV channels. Interestingly, even those not directly involved with film trade are well acquainted with jargons like box-office collection and world right distribution. At cocktail circuits everyone has an opinion on everything connected to movies, be it reviews, international film festivals or panel discussions.

The splendour of cinema is all around and it is no longer possible to escape its connecting media. Unlike 100 years ago when nobody respectable wanted to be a part of the film world, today, everybody, everywhere is obsessed with movies, Hindi films in particular!

Unknown artistes, nouveau writers and self-taught technicians with no film background or experience have crowded the market and are being encouraged by corporate houses. In present times, the cinegoer is akin to a critic and invests his hard-earned money in collecting expensive film memorabilia. The change is everywhere. More and more University students both abroad and in our country are opting for Hindi cinema as a subject for their thesis.

Fragmented Frames is an effort to applaud that shift in attitude. The book is a collection of heartfelt essays on varied aspects of cinema ranging from mythology, theatre, television, superstition, children, marriage and mental-health to premier culture, literature, sex scandals, legendary controversies and more. There are intimate chronicles of love and heartbreaks of prominent personalities and also thought-provoking features on personal and social tragedies like the fire eruption on the sets of Black and bomb blast at Plaza Theatre in Mumbai.

The book elaborates on film festivals like IFFI, Osians, MAMI, Cannes and holds a mirror to superstars and government bodies when they falter. Besides Hindi films, there are glimpses of success stories down South and the new emerging multiplex culture. At time subjective, at times reflecting on larger issues, the book is a documentation of dramatic times, a salute to the fascinating medium of moving images. It is an effort to record the changing times and shift in attitudes of dream merchants.

From the Jacket

Most books delving on the genesis and growth of cinema all over the world and more so in India somehow end up becoming a boring account of detailed events, which though informative are often exhaustive and worse, make a tedious read.

Fragmented Frames is the complete opposite. The book is a collection of enchanting and introspective essays on the madness and magic of show business. It travels you through varied subjects and phases of the dream world.

It is a compassionate comment on what we see on the big screen and in many instances what goes on behind the scenes. It is about Hindi cinema no doubt. But it is also about the author, Bhawana Somaaya, her insight and observations about the creative people and the medium. The myths and the legends, the romances and the overwhelming anxieties It is a rare and a compassionate book on the love of cinema, which is original and also thought-provoking.

I wasn't able to put it down until I finished it. Nor will you!

Bhawana Somaaya began her career in journalism in the late 70s while studying for her BA degree in Psychology. Commencing with Free Press Journal's Cinema Journal as chief reporter, she moved to Super as a special correspondent while completing LLB at the Government Law College, Mumbai. In '81 she joined Movie as an assistant editor and was promoted in '85 as its joint editor. In '89 Chitralekha asked her to launch their first English publication and in 2000 she joined as editor Screen a film weekly of the Indian Express group.

She is the recipient of several prestigious awards and has contributed columns to Sunday Observer, Afternoon, Janmabhoomi, Pravasi, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Pioneer and Newstime. She has written six books.

Amitabh Bachchan – The Legend, Salaam Bollywood, Take-25, the Story So Far, Cinema: Images and Issues, and Hema Malini – The Authorised Biography.

Fragmented Frames is Bhawana's seventh book with two more in the pipeline.

Back of the Book

The different article on a variety of topics are a reflection of the many colours, trends, sections and seasons of show business

Karan Johar

Fearless and compassionate the author takes a stand on many relevant issues related to the film fraternity.

Anil Kapoor

Full of insights the book is a must buy for the thinking film buff.

-Vidya Balan

From the advent of moving images more than 100 years ago to the multiple genres and mega projects of today, Indian cinema has really come a long way. The audience that earlier discarded this medium as a 'world of make-believe' is now akin to critics whose verdict determines the success of a film. Even writing on cinema, once referred to as 'yellow journalism' confined to the glossies, has transformed into a serious and respectable profession. What's more, it has even infiltrated into the front-page territory!

Fragmented Frames is a celebration of this change in perspective, as recorded by an eminent film critics, who has seen cinema developing and achieving greater heights over the three long decades. The book offers her reflections on various aspects ranging from mythology, theatre, television, superstition to literature, scandals, controversies and more. It provides a glimpse of this dream world, and at the same time, discusses certain 'real' issues associated with it.


Foreword 11
1 Reel v/s Real 13
2 Stumbling Skeletons 17
3 Remains of the Day 21
4 No Child's Play 24
5 Once Upon A Time 27
6 Shift in Perspective 30
7 A Dancer and a Director 34
8 It's Different 37
9 Cinema is Changing 40
10 A Magical Experience 43
11 Dignity in Pain 46
12 Whose Line is it Anyway? 50
13 Laws of Attraction 53
14 Patel v/s Patel 57
15 Raksha Bandhan and Films 60
16 Morality Baggage 63
17 Timeless Madan Mohan 67
18 Resurrecting a Classic 70
19 A Beautiful Mind 73
20 Readymade Superstars 77
21 Small is Big 81
22 Whose Party is it Anyway? 84
23 Devoid of Gimmicks 87
24 A Transforming Experience 90
25 Underestimating the Audience 93
26 Dons, Brawls and Court Cases 96
27 Scandals and Controversies 99
28 Sting Operations and Traditions 102
29 No Time for Ordinary 105
30 Terms of Endearment 107
31 Sensitising Towards Disabled 111
32 In the Name of Religion 114
33 Remarkable Men 118
34 No Smoking, Sorry, We are Indians 121
35 Postcard to Sarat Babu 124
36 Father Dear Father 127
37 Premier Culture 130
38 Hooked to Fame 134
39 Raining Controversies 137
40 KBC, All about Human Equations 140
41 Krishna and the Film Hero 143
42 Captain My Captain 147
43 Sex, Lies and Audiotapes 150
44 Are we abusing our Child Stars? 154
45 Politics or Films 157
46 Tulsi resides in the Hero's Heart 161
47 Defining Year 164
48 Cinderella Romance 167
49 Entertainment for Enrichment 170
50 Love in Times of B&W and Colour 173
51 Trial for Justice 176
52 Awards, Theirs and Ours 179
53 Family Affair 182
54 It Tomorrow Comes 186
55 An Actor and a Cause 190
56 Cross-Culture Romance 194
57 The Graduates 198
58 Mere Paas Ma Hai 201
59 Yeh Kashmir Hai 204
60 Contradictory Signals 208
61 God of Details 211
62 Returning to Fables 214
63 Audience is Changing 217
64 A Decade of Romance 220
65 Marriage means never having to say you are settled 223
66 Distinctive Deity 227
67 Bapu Ne Kaha Tha - I 231
68 Bapu Ne Kaha Tha - II 234
69 Breaking the Jinx 237
70 Whose Life is it Anyway? 240
71 Conscience Crisis 243
72 Festival Diary 247
73 It's about Self Worth 251
74 Have Reality Shows taken over our Lives? 256
75 No Escaping History 259
76 Whose Reputation is it anyway? 262
77 Reality Bites 265
78 Invisible Middle Class 268
79 Hall of Fame 271
80 Voyeuristic Gaze 274
81 Scenes from a Marriage 277
82 Hey Ram 280
83 East v/s West 283
84 Fairy Tale Comes True 286
85 Cannes Calling 290
86 Food, Erotica and Compassion 193
87 Death of a Courtesan 296
88 The Lady Doth Protest Too Much 299
89 Guru-Shishya Parampara 303
90 Seven-year Itch 307
91 Come Back Yash Chopra 310
92 Touchstone 314
93 Man v/s Machine! 318

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