Dr. Salman Akhtar talks about the 100 year old history of Bollywood or Hindi cinema in this multi-part interview. What is different about Dr. Akhtar’s approach is he brings his trained psychiatrist eyes to the subject and helps us understand what socio-economics factors permeated and colored the narrative and story lines of filmmakers. And how films in turn shaped and colored the attitudes of film goers in India. This is about “Bollywood and the Indian Unconscious” a chapter that he wrote with K. Choksi in “Freud Along The Ganges,” that he edited.
In Part-1 of our interview we talk to Dr. Akhtar about his family and their involvement in Hindi cinema, Dr. Akhtar comes from a family of poets and writers. His father Jan Nisar Akhtar worked in Hindi film industry as a lyricist and poet. His mother Safia Akhtar was a talented writer & poet. His brother Javed Akhtar is a well-known writer and lyricist in Bollywood. We wanted to find out how he got interested in the history of the world’s largest film industry. What was it about the Bombay dream merchants that caught his attention and why?
Dr. Akhtar is a Psychiatrist and a professor at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He has has written extensively on psychiatry, psychoanalysis and about poetry and films.
Tune back next week for Part-2 of our conversation with Dr. Akhtar where we explore Hindi films from the 1950s and 1960s.
This interview was recorded in 2006.
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Photo courtesy of Dr. Salman Akhtar