“Bollywood stars know that they are commodities, that they themselves are being sold. They are not a medium for reaching a message to the audience, they are the product.” – Naseeruddin Shah

Bollywood is one of the world's largest cinemas, and one of Indias most profitable industries. Yet, remarkably little is known about the world of movie production including the politics of acting, the role of government, underworld financing, nepotism and family monopolies, migration, talent and skill development, beauty, skin color, sexism, and globalization. This is especially so since the Government of India only recognized cinema production as an official industry in the year 2000. This website offers researchers access to new primary source data and some preliminary analysis that we hope will catalyze further scholarship and study on the subject. This project is led by Penn faculty Dr. Sudev Sheth and Penn undergraduate Nitin Rao.

Welcome to Bollywood and Beyond! This is a research page that focuses on evidence from the popular television series Guftagoo hosted by S. M. Irfan and published by Rajya Sabha Television.

Rajya Sabha is the upper-house of the Indian Parliament, and this series of interviews is one of the most original, creative, and reliable sources we have on the cinema industry. We believe firsthand accounts from major and minor actors, directors, producers, lyricists, writers, and other members of the industry will be of immense value for research into a variety of topics such as business history, entertainment finance, gender, skin color, censorship, sex, violence, nepotism, regional cinema, and politics.

For researchers, we are providing a data set that we have generated by collecting and coding metadata from close to 400 interviews aired from 2011-present. As we build the data set, we will also provide key visualizations and basic Python code that we have generated as analytics. Scholars can also manipulate and analyze the data based on their own research questions.

We encourage you to use the data set freely, and share with us any additions you make to the data, and publications that result from your connection with this body of excellent primary source material. We recommend the following citation format:

To cite the database:

Bollywood and Beyond: Analyzing the Indian Film Industry through Irfan’s Guftagoo Interviews. Nitin Rao & Sudev Sheth, eds. University of Pennsylvania (2020): https://web.sas.upenn.edu/bollywood-and-beyond/

To cite individual interviews:

Interview with Naseeruddin Shah, interviewed by S. Mohammad Irfan, October 17, 2018, Guftagoo, Rajya Sabha Television, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-4VjMgnnRQ

Questions, comments, and additions can be directed to: sudev@wharton.upenn.edu and nitinr@sas.upenn.edu

This is a non-commercial website for research purposes only. Scholars and researchers may freely use the materials on this website. We ask that you accurately cite the database and individual interviews appropriately.
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