A cultural behemoth, India has produced some of the most compelling literary and cinematic works of the last half century. As the world awakens to the potential economic might of this sub continental country its cultural output is becoming more ubiquitous, especially in the English speaking world. However despite India’s rising prosperity it is still a country blighted by poverty and deprivation; something depicted in much of the books and films emerging from India.
Rudyard Kipling might have had the western perspective on India, but Indian literature has also been captured by famous authors like Chetan Bhagat whose book, One Night @ the Call Centre portrays the apprehensions that beset the large Indian middle class. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2008, depicts the complexities of globalised India. Other recommended reads include The God of Small Things, Bombay Time, The Mango Season and Two Lives.
The colourful images, dramatic dance movements and vibrant music of Bollywood do not sum up Indian Cinema. Along with the song and dance, India also offers serious art-house cinema. From Oscar winning movies like Pather Panchali by the legendary Satyajit Ray, Malayalam Language hits like Elippathayamby award winning director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, to Lagaan – a film about India’s vibrant cricket legacy – India displays a variety one cannot tire of. After all, between Bollywood and independent cinema, India has the largest film industry after Hollywood.