Great Books On Movies And Entertainment You Should Download Now

The forced house arrest has given us time to catch up on reading. Here are 8 book recommendations from team Film Companion
Great Books On Movies And Entertainment You Should Download Now

As we enter a phase of indefinite house arrest because of Covid-19, maybe the only way to keep going is to try and look for silver linings wherever possible. A great one is that you can finally catch up on some reading. Team Film Companion can guide you on what to start with. We have curated a list of great books on movies and pop culture that offer a mix of both fun, light reading and also an insight into technique and craft. Here goes… 

Reel Cinema: On Location In Kollywood by Anand Pandiyan 

An anthropologist chances upon Tamil cinema when a farming community he is researching sings cinema music to the beats of their work. From there it is a journey to Kodambakkam in Chennai, where he sits in Mysskin's writers room, follows others directors across continents seeing how they shoot 'love-songs', interviewing hopeful writers, producers who would soon run out of money, tired lightmen, under-valued production designers and exciting musicians. The book is loving look at cinema, much of whose beauty, like this book, is an accident. Pandiyan also won the Infosys Prize this year for his work in the field of anthropology. – Prathyush Parusaraman

Scorsese by Ebert by Roger Ebert

A film-by-film chronicling that includes reviews, old and revised, along with interviews and other pieces, it goes into the heart of one of the great director-critic relationships in cinema. For instance, the book traces the closeness Martin Scorsese and Roger Ebert feel for each other's work back to their shared Catholic church upbringing, and particularly how it shaped their tendency to see woman in a certain way—which Ebert describes as the "madonna-whore complex". A treat for those who are fans of both. – Sankhayan Ghosh

Conversations With Pauline Kael by Pauline Kael 

Anyone who wants to become a film critic must read this collection of essays and interviews of former New Yorker film critic. They are biting, sharp, entertaining, and profound, much like her reviews. She gives a sense of how cinema in America changed over the 60s through the 90s. Her one year stint as a script supervisor in Hollywood adds heft to her anecdotes.  From being a philosophy student who worked in the indie and theatre producing space to then reviewing films on the radio, self publishing the reviews to becoming the tome that she is, it is quite a fascinating look at a life lead irreverently but always with dignity. – Prathyush Parusaraman 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

I've always wondered how cool Mindy Kaling's life must be. She was a writer on my most favourite TV show The Office. Later she starred, wrote and acted in her own show. Her book Why Not Me? tells you how she has achieved all of this and you realise that the hard work behind everything she's accomplished is staggering. There's a chapter in which she chronicles a regular work day which begins at 5 AM and ends past midnight. What's fun about the book is that Mindy never takes herself too seriously. She documents even her toughest times with her unique brand of humour. The tone of the book may be light, frothy and conversational, but there's lots you can learn from it. – Mohini Chaudhuri

Sahir – The People's Poet by Akshay Manwani

It's a thoroughly researched exploration of one of Hindi cinema's greatest lyricists.  It takes you into the mind of the great poet and also allows you to revisit your favourite songs! – Anupama Chopra

Deep Focus: Reflections on Cinema by Satyajit Ray 

Satyajit Ray, besides being a great filmmaker, was also a great student of cinema, writing with amazing clarity and eloquence about the art form. This book—a collection of essays and articles for newspapers and film magazines—has Ray writing about everything from Charlie Chaplin to Uttam Kumar, to tackling fundamental and philosophical questions about filmmaking, to his lament about the absence of cinematheques in India. Includes gems such as the opening lines of his chapter on Godard: 'I don't like Godard' is a statement one frequently hears at Film festivals. Now, I don't like Godard too. But then, 'like' is a word I seldom use to describe my feeling about truly modern artists. Do we really like Pablo Picasso, or Claude-Michel Schonberg, or Eugene Ionesco…? – Sankhayan Ghosh

Don't Disturb The Dead: The Story Of The Ramsay Brothers by Shamya Dasgupta

A closet fan of their movies growing up, the Ramsays (especially their TV show later on) and their films appealed to a certain part of you that wanted to watch horror films but didn't want to get scared. Reading Don't Disturb The Dead by Shamya Dasgupta took me back to a period where you'd strike secret deals with video lending libraries for them to insert the cassette of either a Veerana or Purani Haveli inside the cover of deceptively plain choices like Sound of Music or Home Alone. The book gives you an insight into their 'honest-to-devil' spirit most indie filmmakers today can only aspire for. But beyond their strange films and their making-of stories, the book is eventually a sincere account of the classic Indian family business and the roles each of them play to keep it running, even it means doing a hundred little things at once. – Vishal Menon

Born a CrimeBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah 

Comedian Trevor Noah's memoir offers an insight into a very unique predicament – growing up as a coloured person in post-Apartheid South Africa. When you're neither black nor white you're an outlier everywhere – in your neighbourhood, in school, and at times even in your own home. Noah beautifully explains the nuances of race, colour and language and how it defined him whether he liked it or not. This book also deserves to read for Noah's mother – a fierce and god-fearing single parent who gave him the best in the most trying circumstances. This is a story of real triumph!

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