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MOVIE GUIDE 2020 - A young architect from NEPAL compiles a comprehensive guide on Hindi films reviews published in the famous SARITA magazine since 1945 - Book Review By Bobby Sing


Film reviewing has its own valuable history in Hindi cinema which largely began with the brutally harsh reviews written by the famous Baburao Patel in his magazine FILMINDIA. Patel’s unapologetic reviews were known for hugely affecting the film’s prospects at the box office too as FILMINDIA was the most prominent and widely read magazine of those times having a reputation of its own.
Later where at one end FILMFARE in English continued the tradition, Delhi Press publication SARITA in Hindi had its own huge readership and its film reviews were widely read, even though the magazine was not any film based magazine in its entirety. The reviews used to get published under a column “Chanchal Chhaya” and getting a 3-4 star ratings in SARITA was considered something big as it was not known to be lenient in its star ratings. 
Thankfully SARITA still gets published in the present decade of the new millennium, but the world of such magazines and their readership has gone through a complete change, where many might have even forgotten all about them and their 'once' strong existence. However, what's even more surprising is the fact that it took a true Hindi movie-buff from NEPAL to think about compiling the legacy of the magazine’s reputed reviews since 1945 in a thick encyclopedic book of 450+ pages.

The book titled MOVIE GUIDE 2020 – Reviewing Hindi Cinema since 1945 penned by Suman Shakya, actually shows the power and reach of our movies beyond the political boundaries. And the same strongly inspired a young architect of Nepal to go for such big compilation, making repeated visits to SARITA’s head office in Delhi searching their archives. The Editor/Managing Director of Delhi Press (publisher of the magazine), rightly appreciates and commends Suman for his painstaking efforts made in the Foreward of the book, followed by a heartfelt note written by Suman himself.

Movie Guide 2020 - Book ReviewDivided in four parts, the book begins with a section of 4600 entries for reviews compiled alphabetically. Its second section has a list of 5, 4 and 3 star rating movies as per the years of their release. The third has a list of all Filmfare Award Winners in the past decades and the last has a simple index of leading Hindi film directors.

To give you the actual picture, this is a kind of reference book with the film details, star ratings and the summary of the original review in a few lines (translated from Hindi). So it doesn’t have complete reviews (to make it clear) but just short indication of the actual review in Suman's words, as published in the year of the film’s release. Obviously with around 4600 entries one cannot expect complete reviews compiled from the magazine. Moreover, it must have been a big painful task for the author to summarize thousands of reviews and compile them together in short for a quick reference.

In all, may be not for the movie enthusiasts who wish to read detailed reviews of their favourite films from the past issues of SARITA. This is actually a must have for the film institutes and libraries as a reference book for their students, giving them an idea about how reviews and ratings were given in the past and how industry used to consider them quite differently. In support of the above statement, as stated in the book, its nothing short of an amazing fact that in all these decades till 2019, SARITA has given 5 stars rating to only two movies - BIRAJ BAHU (1954) and GODAAN (1963), assessed as two brilliant adaptations of our rich Indian literary works. 

Title : MOVIE GUIDE 2020 Reviewing Hindi Cinema Since 1945
Written & Compiled by Suman Shakya
Publishers : Xpress Publishing (An imprint of Notion Press)
Price : Rs.750/-  

(The book is available at Amazon and its publisher Notion Press’s website too.)

Tags : MOVIE GUIDE 2020 Bobby Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Books On Cinema Reviews by Bobby Sing, Reviews in SARITA magazine, Compilation from SARITA
10 Oct 2020 / Comments ( 6 )

Kudos to hard work of Suman Shakya from Nepal!!

Bobby Sing

Indeed! That involves a lot of hard work and time.
Thanks for visiting and writing in.

Utpal Datta

Thanks to BobbyJi for his appreciation. I had purchased the information loaded book and felt that the production is not up to mark. I had searched some information about three hindi films and those were not there. Perhaps, I missed those pages. Anyway, this labour of love is helpful for film lovers.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for buying the book supporting the author Sir.
Can't say why your searched content wasnt there, but this kind of work certainly involves a lot of hardwork and time.
Though I also wished a little more details of the films that are considered important should have been there.


Suman Shakya

Thanks for the review, kind support , and the sincere comments. As the author of this book, I would like to comment the book features only the movies reviewed in the magazine which I mentioned in the forward. So few of very popular movies also didn't make to this guide. I apologize if some readers were expecting the full database.

But I feel the compilation shall be useful in a sense that it provides a tangible prospect on either going for or discarding a movie, kinda information I struggled to find. Perhaps that's what a film guide should do. Anyway in the coming editions I'm planning to add more information to the entries including popular press reviews in addition to the verdict of "Sarita." The suggestion from the film writers, film makers or those who went through the first edition shall be really valuable to create a complete film guide, which Hindi Cinema severly lacks.

Bobby Sing

Sure Suman, your views and the hard work put in really deserves respect and appreciation.
All The Best with HIS BLESSINGS

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