Filming the Gods explores Indian cinema's portrayal of religion and the gods, from early film-makers' first forays onto the silent screen to the technicolour spectacles of modern Bollywood.
Looking at the influential Hindi cinema of Mumbai, as well as at Islamic and other sources, Rachel Dwyer asks how the depiction of divinity and devotion in film has affected India's religious, political and sexual culture. Her exhilarating tale weaves from Indian cinema's founding nationalist impulses, where Hindi epics from the Mahabharata and Ramayana were devised in response to western Biblical films, to the global consumption of Indian film today and its reaction to modern religious tensions such as the war in Kashmir.
Exploring genres including epic melodrama, devotional drama and subaltern and 'social' film, the book draws on interviews with film stars, directors and producers as well as popular fiction, fan magazines and of course the films themselves. It succeeds both as a guide to the study of film in religious culture, and a thrilling history of Indian religious film.