A great many debts have accumulated over the near decade that it has taken
me to research and write this book. I have had plenty of opportunities to
reflect on the preposterous timescale of academic production and to mar-
vel at the willingness, nevertheless, of so many people to engage so gener-
ously with such an apparently open-ended and uncertain endeavor.
The lifeblood of any ethnographic project is, of course, the kindness of
all those interlocutors who submit to the anthropologist’s ill-formed ques-
tions and impertinent conjectures with grace, patience, and wit. In India, I
was fortunate enough to speak with Javed Akhtar, the late Vijay Anand,
Shabana Azmi, Nupur Basu, Dev Benegal, Shyam Benegal, Rahul Bose,
Anupama Chopra, Bishakha Datta, Shobhaa De, Anil Dharker, Shanta
Gokhale, the late M. F. Husain, K. P. Jayasankar, Ammu Joseph, Vikram
Kapadia, the late B. K. Karanjia, Girish Karnad, Anurag Kashyap, Anupam
Kher, Ram Madhvani, Anjali Monteiro, Pritish Nandy, Kiran Nagarkar, the
late Pramod Navalkar, Pramila Nesargi, Anand Patwardhan, Adi Pocha,
P. Sebastian, Kalpana Sharma, Rakesh Sharma, Saurabh Shukla, Rohan
Sippy, Sunhil Sippy, the late Vijay Tendulkar, and Paromita Vohra. Anand
Awasthi, Udita Jhunjhunwala, and Jerry Pinto made some invaluable in-
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