Essential Mystery: Major Filmmakers of Indian Art Cinema


John W. Hood


Paperback 9788125037750

A comprehensive overview of Indian art cinema, this substantially revised and updated edition takes a critical look at the major filmmakers of the genre.

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The film directors who form the corpus of this new edition now include among others Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Govindan Aravindan, Aparna Sen, Girish Kasaravalli, Govind Nihalani, Ritwik Ghatak and Buddhadeb Dasgupta.


A final chapter critically examines the works of filmmakers not as prolific as those mentioned earlier—Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Goutam Ghose, Ketan Mehta, Manmohan Mahapatra, Nirad Mahapatra and Shaji Karun. Nevertheless they have in their oeuvre, films marked by their excellence.


The detailed filmography at the end of Essential Mystery is a valuable addition for students and scholars of cinema and film aficionados. John Hood’s critical analysis of each filmmaker’s work is lucid and meticulous. The amazing availability of the films under study on DVD, have made this vast treasury of films accessible to the reader. The objective of this book is not to decode each film or provide the right answers—only sensitive responses—and to promote an enhanced appreciation of Indian art cinema.


John W. Hood was born in Melbourne in 1944. He studied at the University of Melbourne majoring in Philosophy and Indian Studies. His PhD thesis on Bengali vernacular historiography, focussed on the work of the late Professor Niharranjan Ray. He has written extensively on Indian cinema, his published books include Chasing the Truth: The Films of Mrinal Sen (1993), The Films of Buddhadeb Dasgupta (2005) and Beyond the World of Apu: The Films of Satyajit Ray (2008).


He is also a well-known translator of Bengali literature. John Hood divides his time between Melbourne and Kolkata.

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John W. Hood

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