Bollywood is the name given to Hindi film industry located in Bombay (now known as Mumbai). Bollywood is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centres producing films in multiple languages. India has sixteen official languages & 24 spoken languages & therefore the film industry is fragmented primarily based on the spoken languages of each region. Other main film producing centres being Hyderabad, Chennai & Kolkata. Bollywood is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Bollywood is considered the largest and greatest film industry in the world rivalled only by Hollywood by the amount of stars, films produced and the number of tickets sold. Bollywood is a phenomenon in India which is matched in popularity only by cricket and curry.


Film Genre: Masala movies with Song & Dance Sequences


The Bollywood films are always way over the top and highly exaggerated with lengthy plots which always consist of songs, massive dance scenes, death-defying stunts, comedy, romance and love. The Bollywood movies are often denoted as 'Masala movies' owing to all these ingredients. Songs from Bollywood movies are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers, with the actors then lip synching the words to the song on-screen. Most notable singers of Bollywood have been Lata Mangeshkar,Asha Bhosle,Geeta Dutt,Shamshad Begum,Alka Yagnik , K. L. Saigal, Talat Mahmood,Mukesh,Mohammed Rafi,Manna Dey,Hemant Kumar,Kishore Kumar,Kumar Sanu,Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam etc. The dancing in Bollywood films, is primarily modelled on classical dance styles, dances of historic northern Indian courtesans, or folk dances. In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles.

Indians are in love with Bollywood movies, even though most films follow the similar Masala format. Movies are three to four hours long with an intermission. Fourteen million Indians go to the movies on a daily basis and pay approx. Rs 50 Rs 200 to see any of the over 800 films churned out by Bollywood each year.


History of Indian Films


The history of Indian Cinema dates all the way back to 1913 and the silent film Raja Harishchandra was the first-ever Indian feature film made. Its producer, Dadasaheb Phalke, was Indian cinema’s first mogul, and he oversaw the production of twenty-three films between 1913-1918. Yet unlike Hollywood, initial growth in the industry was slow. 

Several new production companies took shape in the 1920s, and most films made during this era were either mythological or historical in nature. Filmed versions of episodes from mythological epics such as The Ramayana and The Mahabharata still dominated throughout the decade. 1931 saw the release of Alam Ara, the first talkie, and the film that paved the way for the future of Indian cinema. In 1947 that the industry went through significant changes, it was during this time that the modern Indian film was born. The historical and mythological stories of the past were replaced by social-reformist films, with a critical eye on such social practices as the dowry system, polygamy and prostitution. The 1950s saw filmmakers such as Bimal Roy and Satyajit Ray focusing on the lives of the lower classes. Inspired by social and political changes, as well as cinematic movements in both the US and Europe, the 1960s saw the birth of India’s own New Wave, founded by directors such as Ray, Mrinal Sen, and Ritwik Ghatak. 1970s witnessed the rise of directors like Manmohan Desai, one of the more successful Bollywood directors who is also considered by many to be the father of the Masala films. Recent trend of movie making is more of a mix of Masala, realism & social drama.


The Actors & Support Staff


Bollywood employs people from all parts of India. It attracts thousands of aspiring actors and actresses, all hoping for a break in the industry. Models and beauty contestants, television actors, theatre actors and even common people come to Mumbai with the hope and dream of becoming a star. A very few succeed & rest end up as support staff or junior artists. Stardom in the entertainment industry is very fickle, and Bollywood is no exception. Very few people become national icons like Amitabh Bachchan, who are unaffected by success or failure of their movies. Other notable actors in the Bollywood have been Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dev Ananad, Wahida Rahman, Madhubala, Hema Malini, Manoj Kumar, Shahrukh Khan etc to name a few. The stars of Bollywood are very popular and highly paid, considering the budget of the films.


Bollywood awards

In addition to the National Film Awards by government of India, the India screen magazine Filmfare started the first Filmfare Awards in 1953. These awards were to be Bollywood's version of the Academy Awards. Magazine readers submit their votes and the awards are presented at a glamorous, star-studded ceremony. Like the Oscars, they are frequently accused of bias towards commercial success rather than merit. Other companies (St ardust magazine, Zee TV etc) later entered the award business. Some of the other popular awards are:
  • Zee Cine Awards
  • Star Screen Awards
  • Stardust awards
  • IIFA Awards


Growing Popularity &Global Reach

Satellite TV, television and imported foreign films are making huge inroads into the domestic Indian entertainment market. In the past, most Bollywood films could make money; now fewer do so. Balanced against this are the increasing returns from theatres in Western countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States of America, where Bollywood is slowly getting noticed. As more Indians migrate to these countries, they form a growing market for upscale Indian films. These movies are gaining popularity with the South Asian communities around the world. Though separated by a vast distance from home, South Asians have found Bollywood films to be a great way of staying in touch with their culture. 'Foreign' audiences in Asian and Western countries are also growing

Funding for Bollywood films often comes from private distributors and a few large studios. Recently, Indian banks have also started lending money to film productions. As the finances are not regulated properly some of the money also comes from illegitimate sources. Mumbai gangsters have produced films, patronized stars, and used muscle to get their way in cinematic deals.

Piracy is the biggest problems that Bollywood is facing, where people copy the films and either sell them or show them to other people for free. This is not helping most of the films to break-even i.e. to recover the production cost for the makers of the film.