Most of the books on Indian Cinema which have appeared so far rest content with a chronological listing of films made, simplistically categorized, and garnished with high sounding but essentially superficial analyses and evaluations. Chidananda Das Gupta’s ‘Talking About Films’, in contrast, is a collection of eighteen short essays that discuss various aspects of film in India as well as film in general with refreshing lucidity.
Taken from writings published over a long period (1957 to 1975) in newspapers and periodicals in India and abroad, the essays, as the preface states, range over a variety of subjects and ‘are by no means comprehensive or integrated into a structure’. While some are essentially analytical, as for instance, the one entitled, ‘The Cultural Basis of Indian Cinema’, a few, such as ‘Films Remembered’ and ‘Cinema in the Sixties: Some Trends’, are more rambling, though never mindless. In fact, they all reflect a probing and sensitive mind, honestly concerned with the state of Indian film and culture, and knowledgeable ‘about wider cinematic and societal trends.
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