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Amar Akbar Anthony - Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation
Amar Akbar Anthony - Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation

Amar Akbar Anthony - Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation

by William Elison

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Product ID:34006




Harvard Business


9780674504486 - Year: 2016 - Pages: 334



William Elison
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Author: William Elison
Christian Lee Novetzke/Andy Rotman
Publisher: Harvard Business
Year: 2016
Language: English
Pages: 334
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780674504486


A Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977, Amar Akbar Anthony has become a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end. William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.

Amar Akbar Anthony’s celebration of an India built on pluralism and religious tolerance continues to resonate with audiences today. But it also invites a critique of modernity’s mixed blessings. As the authors show, the film’s sunny exterior only partially conceals darker elements: the shadow of Partition, the crisis of Emergency Rule, and the vexed implications of the metaphor of the family for the nation. The lessons viewers draw from the film depend largely on which brother they recognize as its hero. Is it Amar, the straight-edge Hindu policeman? Is it Akbar, the romantic Muslim singer? Or is it Anthony, the Christian outlaw with a heart of gold? In this book’s innovative and multi-perspectival approach, each brother makes his case for himself (although the last word belongs to their mother).


“Lively and highly readable and, like the film itself, quite a zany offering—this book does something new with the film, in that its close readings spin out into a broad study of Indian culture, and religion in particular.”
== Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, SOAS, University of London

“Like the blockbuster from which it borrows its vitality, Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation uses a cocktail of humor and irony, magic and just a touch of madness to analyze one of the major blockbusters of Hindi cinema. Elison, Novetzke, and Rotman have produced a version of fan writing that fans will actually want to read. In light, sparkling prose, they bring formidable interdisciplinary gifts to remind us what made Manmohan Desai’s film the legend it is, and why it continues to matter now more than ever.”
== Priya Joshi, author of Bollywood’s India: A Public Fantasy

“A brilliant, rollicking read. Grounded in authoritative scholarship on South Asian religion and society, this extended analysis of—and riff on—one of Bombay cinema’s all-time classics is as playful and enjoyable as the madcap capers of the film itself.”
== Rosie Thomas, author of Bombay before Bollywood: Film City Fantasies



Introduction: Outright Hokum

1. Amar: Straight Shooter
2. Akbar: Parda and Parody
3. Anthony: Amar Akbar Irony
4. Maa—!
Conclusion: Excuse Me, Please
Appendix: Film Synopsis

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