Saturday, April 01, 2006

The life and times of an H-Bomb

I'm thrilled to hear that Jerry Pinto's book on the vamp/dancer/actress who defined Hindi cinema in many important ways has just been released. As I discovered a few months back when I sought him out for contacts in bombay, Jerry is an incredible storehouse of information on Hindi cinema, and is arguably the best person to have on your side if you intend doing fieldwork in Bombay.

Titled Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, the book grapples with quite a few interesting questions:

Why did a refugee of French-Burmese parentage succeed as wildly as she did in Bollywood? How could otherwise conservative families sit through, and even enjoy, her "cabarets"? What made Helen the desire that you need not be embarrassed about feeling´┐Ż How did she manage the unimaginable: vamp three generations of men on screen?

And here's a 3-part interview where Jerry talks about how he went about making sense of Helen.


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