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Mahanayak Revisited: The World of Uttam Kumar

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Mahanayak Revisited: The World of Uttam Kumar, Swapan Mullick, book reviewOddly enough, despite the fact that he passed away in 1980 no one has yet written an English biography of Bengal’s first superstar till senior journalist Swapan Mullick took up the challenge posed by Tranquebar and tried to make sense of the legend and the madness. He starts with the rumour that crept round the shabby Tollygunge studios in the 1970’s that Uttam Kumar was leaving Calcutta for Mumbai and this time for good. Bengal’s superstar had yet to make his mark in Hindi films, mainly because his Hindi pronunciation left much to be desired and his voice was too well known to be dubbed.

Mullick organizes Uttam Kumar’s life into various chapters that deal with his co-stars : Sabitri Chatterjee, Suchitra Sen, Supriya Devi who became his live in partner, his relationship with Satyajit Ray, who refused to use him in most of his films, barring Nayak which was based on the legend of a superstar and asked Uttam Kumar to delve into his darker side, influences from Hollywood for some of the films he acted in and his art compared to that of the other leading actors of the time.


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The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex

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The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex, Mark Kermode, book reviewThe Good, The Bad and The Multiplex is not Mark Kermode’s first book, but it is the first by the film critic that I have read. A well-known name and face in the world of film journalism, I always enjoy his appearances on TV shows along the lines of “The 50 Greatest Movies” – he invariably has something interesting, intelligent and funny to say, and for this stands out from so many of the other “talking heads” who waffle rubbish.
The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex is subtitled What’s Wrong With Modern Movies?, which gives a slightly better idea of what to expect. Kermode discusses his issues with modern cinema, ranging from the multiplex itself, through the lack of projectionists, the so-called “future” that is 3D, why blockbusters are so bad yet make a fortune, the point of film critics, and British cinema.


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Monsters in the Movies

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Monsters in the Movies (Hardback) by John Landis, book reviewJohn Landis, writer and director of films such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and “An American Werewolf in London,” among many others, has put together this superb tome that gives a guide to a huge range of monsters from the world of film. Lovers of vampires, zombies and ghosts can feast their eyes on these fantastical creatures in the images, principally from the Kobal Collection, that are reproduced here. In his introduction, Landis describes the book as “a pictorial overview of monsters from the movies” that he thinks are “cool.” He aims to be entertaining rather than scholarly.


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Satyajit Ray’s Boswell

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Manik Da Memories Of Satyajit RayOf all the people who knew Satyajit Ray, one man still considered the last word on the filmmaker is photographer Nemai Ghosh. For 25 years, Nemai recorded almost every moment of Ray’s cinematic life – his expressions, his movements, his moods. He is still called ‘Ray’s photographer’. “I found him more interesting than his actors,” says the 71-year-old, who has over 90,000 photographs of the filmmaker.

Ghosh’s interest in photography developed quite by accident. He was 34 and his passion was theatre. He had a group of friends who came to his home to play cards consisting of well known actors and cinematographers like Robi Ghosh and Bansi Chandragupta.

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