William Elison, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Andy Rotman

Amar Akbar Anthony

Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation

Harvard University Press 2016

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in FilmNew Books in Hindu StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Popular CultureNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in South Asian StudiesNew Books Network June 20, 2017 Kristian Petersen

Amar Akbar Anthony is a film like no other. When you see it you cannot forget it. Filled with music, comedy, drama, and love...

Amar Akbar Anthony is a film like no other. When you see it you cannot forget it. Filled with music, comedy, drama, and love it captures audiences in multiple ways. But what can we learn from a deeper look at this classic of Hindi cinema? William Elison, Assistant Professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, Christian Lee Novetzke, Professor at the University of Washington, and Andy Rotman, Professor at Smith College offer a layered analysis of the 1977 blockbuster in Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation (Harvard University Press, 2016). The authors examine the film through each of the narratives three brothers, as well as their mother. All four perspectives offer a new vision of modern India. Through their investigation they explore questions of religion and secularism, Indian nationalism, cinematic genres and Bollywood, politics, urban architectural space, and gender. They also examine the film as a powerful allegory of the nation, where differing religious identities, specifically Hindu, Muslim, and Christian, can produce a generative social harmony. Overall, the authors provide a rich portrait of this amazing film and a useful model for the interdisciplinary analysis of cinema.


Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. His research and teaching interests include Theory and Methodology in the Study of Religion, Islamic Studies, Chinese Religions, Human Rights, and Media Studies. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected].

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