From Bombay to Bollywood

The Making of a Global Media Industry

266 pages

25 halftones, 3 tables

July, 2013

ISBN: 9780814729496



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Part of the Postmillennial Pop series


Aswin Punathambekar is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is the co-editor of Global Bollywood (NYU Press, 2008).

All books by Aswin Punathambekar

From Bombay to Bollywood analyzes the transformation of the national film industry in Bombay into a transnational and multi-media cultural enterprise, which has come to be known as Bollywood. Combining ethnographic, institutional, and textual analyses, Aswin Punathambekar explores how relations between state institutions, the Indian diaspora, circuits of capital, and new media technologies and industries have reconfigured the Bombay-based industry’s geographic reach. Providing in-depth accounts of the workings of media companies and media professionals, Punathambekar has produced a timely analysis of how a media industry in the postcolonial world has come to claim the global as its scale of operations.
Based on extensive field research in India and the U.S., this book offers empirically-rich and theoretically-informed analyses of how the imaginations and practices of industry professionals give shape to the media worlds we inhabit and engage with. Moving beyond a focus on a single medium, Punathambekar develops a comparative and integrated approach that examines four different but interrelated media industries--film, television, marketing, and digital media. Offering a path-breaking account of media convergence in a non-Western context, Punathambekar’s transnational approach to understanding the formation of Bollywood is an innovative intervention into current debates on media industries, production cultures, and cultural globalization.


  • From Bombay to Bollywood is a truly distinctive contribution to the field of global media studies. Punathambekar's comparative and transnational approach examines the movement of people, capital, images, and ideas. An engrossing read.”

    —Marwan Kraidy, author of Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life

  • "Readers concerned with new media configurations in the wake of globalization will be attracted to From Bombay to Bollywood. The structure and prose grow clearer as the book proceeds. No prior knowledge of the Indian film industry is needed, but the Bombay Bollywood evolution provides insights that will carry over to those concerned with media developments in places ranging from Lagos to Sao Paulo." 

    —Maria Magdalena Leturia Bravo, International Journal of Communication

  • "[A] timely reminder of the untapped potential of Bombay's film industry for extending existing theoretical frameworks in media, film and production studies...If the changing text in Bombay cinema in the past decade has been a visible fact,  Punathambekar's book demystifies that change by showing us the structural, geographic, and material transformations that have enabled a new form of meaning making to emerge in Bombay."

    Media, Culture & Society

  • "Historically situating the spatial and geographical coordinates of both 'Bollywood' and 'Bombay' within global landscapes of intermedia relationships and expanding the domains within which we can constitute and imagine these as focal points, this book crucially illustrates that Bollywood can no longer be imagined only as a film industry."

    The Velvet Light Trap

  • “Aswin Punathambekar’s From Bombay to Bollywood is a welcome addition to the recent shift in Indian film and media studies from an overwhelming focus on texts to ethnographies of Bollywood’s industrial, production, and material practices. […] [T]his book crucially illustrates that Bollywood can no longer be imagined only as a film industry.”

    The Velvet Light Trap