Superstars, wildlife and religion on bookshelf

Unwind this weekend with a pile of meaningful books.

1. ‘Bollywood`s Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema’; Edited by Bhaichand Patel; Published by Penguin India; Priced at Rs.599

Cinema has been mainstay of popular entertainment for almost a century now. Visually arresting, Bollywood has enthralled moviegoers over the decades with its melodious music, colourful drama and lively plotlines. At the heart of the mystique is the towering presence of its galaxy of stars. "Bollywood`s Top 20" is an exciting collection of new essays by renowned writers that pays tribute to Hindi cinema`s biggest stars of all time - Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Madhubala to Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Kareena Kapoor - who are indispensable to the Bollywood pantheon. Each piece offers unique insights into the lives of Bollywood`s most exceptional legends - their struggles and triumphs, downfalls and scandals.

2. ‘On Safari: The Tiger & The Baobab Tree’; Written by Babi Nobis; Published by Om Books International; Priced at Rs.2,995

Trailing tigers with his lens on the rugged terrains of Kanha, Ranthambore, Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Nepal and, of course, the Sunderbans, and lions, cheetahs, buffaloes, rhinos, elephants, wildebeest and more in Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa over the last two decades, renowned wildlife photographer Babi Nobis shares with the reader the alluring magic of wilderness and its majestic inhabitants, in over 250 stunning visuals. Babi Nobis is a well-known tea exporter, a gold medal-winning trap shooter as well as a natural history enthusiast.

3. ‘Hira Mandi’; Written by Claudine Le Tourneur D`lson; Published by Roli Books; Priced at Rs.195

Very few French writers have ventured to write on the social religious, political and cultural issues of the Pakistani society. In "Hira Mandi", the traditional "red light country" of Lahore, the writer looks at the history of flesh trade in the historic city through the portrayal of a dancer-prostitute`s son who seeks to escape his milieu as he dreams of becoming an artist. Based on a true story, this gripping novel handles its subject with realism and sensitivity, mingling human emotions with history`s macabre dance in the partition of India.

4. ‘Encyclopadia of Hinduism’; Edited by Dr. Kapil Kapoor; Published by Rupa & Co; Priced at Rs.21,000

A joint initiative by Rupa Publications and the India Heritage Research Foundation, the volume is a comprehensive guide to one of the world`s oldest, richest and most diverse faiths - Hinduism. The encyclopedia contains information about the theory and practice of Sanatana Dharma, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It is meant for people of all ages and across regions. The full-color illustrations are a ready guide for all those who want to know about the culture and traditions of Aryavarta.

5. Anna: 13 Days That Shook India’; Written by Ashutosh; Published by Harper-Collins-India; Priced at Rs.199

Anna Hazare`s fast unto death, demanding the implementation of a strong Lokpal bill, was a watershed moment in post-independence India. Coming soon after a slew of corruption exposes, the movement galvanised an increasingly disenchanted middle class. Well-known Hindi journalist Ashutosh weaves together the story of the thirteen days in 2011 that changed India. He had a ringside view of the developments, stationed at the Ramlila ground in New Delhi, the venue of the fast, and had an intimate access to the two warring parties: the Congress government at the centre and Team Anna. Ashutosh evokes the Jayaprakash Narayan movement and Gandhi`s satyagraha, and mines the history of India`s post-independence politics to understand the phenomenon called Anna Hazare.



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