Traversing the Tinsel World
Moinak Biswas
---------------- by B.D. Garga Penguin/Viking, New Delhi, 2018, 258 pp., 495
July 2006, volume 30, No 7

It is rare to come by a book on the ‘art of cinema’ anymore. With cinema itself becoming increasingly a product of divergent traditions, and the study of the medium given over to local specializations, one would today perhaps not venture to train one’s sight on such an object. B.D. Garga himself called his informative book on Indian cinema So Many Cinemas (1996) as if to record his wonderment at the impossible array of tongues that the medium has spawned within a single nation, not just verbally, but in form and language. Such pluralities unsettle the very unity of cinematic art. It would be a matter of debate if there is one single artistic goal or endeavour that can cover the entirety of film practices, not to speak of the critical trend that has disposed of the question of art altogether in order to study the culture of cinema. The author, one of the oldest living cineastes in India—a filmmaker, critic and historian of Indian film whose work has been used by lay readers and scholars for five and a half decades now—does not necessarily end up proposing a universal model for film art.

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