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The Dance Economy

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Ever wondered why places such as Toronto or Kieve have ardent Bollywood fans? Then Is It All About Hips? (Sage Publications) by Sangita Shreshtova is for you. Well, it's more than just that. The author is a Nepali-Czech and has a keen academic interest in the Bollywood dance. She is a first-hand witness to the impact of the cultural phenomenon of Bollywood, having co-founded a dance festival in Prague dedicated to Bollywood dance.

The author begins with an introduction to the origins of the song and dance component in Bollywood and explores the topic over three chapters — each based in a different city — Mumbai, Kathmandu and Los Angeles, providing different perspectives, before wrapping up the rather short book. Although she delves into the theory and history behind Bollywood dance very briefly, the book still lacks the verve to keep the lay reader engaged in what should have been an alluring topic. Shreshtova is at her best when she is examining dance from a sociological or sometimes economic perspective, since she quotes widely from prior works from both academic research such as those of V.A.K. Ranga Rao and Ashis Nandy. The book also attempts to highlight the rapid popularity of Bollywood dance as a result of the ever-expanding reach of Bollywood movies, witnessed by its inclusion in dance based shows both in India (Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan, Nach Baliye, etc.) and the US (So You Think You Can Dance?) as well as other non-dance shows.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 16-01-2012)