A new comer to Bollywood? Appreciating its artistry is just a matter of understanding India’s unique means of filmmaking. Our primer explains the fundamentals:
What is Bollywood?
Bollywood is really a term that refers to the Hindi-language film industry situated in the Indian city of Mumbai, which used to be called Bombay. Bombay + Hollywood = Bollywood. The term is believed to have been coined by a Western journalist in the 1970s. Many Indians take problem with the phrase because it shows that Bollywood is really a lesser offshoot of Hollywood, when actually, India produces far more films annually that attract far greater audience numbers globally compared to the U.S. And, the Indian film industry is older than Hollywood-by one year. bigg boss telugu vote
Are all Indian films produced by Bollywood?
No. Bollywood is just one of many film industries in India. Imagine if the U.S. had a thriving Spanish-language film industry that gave Hollywood a run for the money, or regional film industries in Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle that rivaled L.A.’s. That’s how it is in India. The various Indian film industries are both language- and location-specific. They include Kollywood, which refers to Tamil-language films manufactured in the Kodambakkam district of the city of Chennai; Mollywood, that will be Malayalam-language cinema from the state of Kerala; and Tollywood, which refers to both Telugu-language films from the state of Andhra Pradesh and Bengali-language films manufactured in the Tollygunge neighborhood of Kolkata.
While Bollywood and India’s other film industries primarily produce commercial movies, India also includes a strong and respected art-film tradition, that will be called “parallel cinema.” The delineation between commercial and art film in India is stronger than it is in the U.S. However, that line is beginning to blur as Bollywood is delving into artier projects and Indian art films are aiming for broader appeal.
Are all Bollywood films musicals?
Most Bollywood films include musical numbers. Today’s movies generally have fewer musical numbers than older films. While 10 musical numbers in a video wasn’t unusual previously, 4-6 are far more typical today. And more and more Bollywood movies don’t have any musical numbers at all.
It’s important to keep in mind that Bollywood films are not musicals in the American sense. Bollywood has more in accordance with opera than with Broadway. The key function of musical numbers in Bollywood films (and operas) is expressing emotion. Broadway musical numbers, on one other hand, primarily drive the plot. While Broadway musical numbers are incorporated into the narrative, Bollywood musical numbers tend to be not. Rather, they’re metaphors, removed from the plot, that report how a character feels, not what the character is obviously doing.
Do the actors sing the songs?
Very rarely. The vast majority of film songs are sung by playback singers, that are famous in their particular right.
The movie and music industries in India are inextricably interlinked. The majority of Indian pop music arises from movie soundtracks.
Why do so many Bollywood actors have the same last name? Are they all related?
Nepotism is common in Bollywood and many actors and filmmakers result from family dynasties which have been in the movie business for generations. However, there are lots of celebrities with the same common surnames, particularly Khan and Kapoor, that are not related.
The reason there’s no sex in Bollywood movies?
Two reasons: social and artistic. Onscreen physical intimacy is frowned upon in India-even kissing is rather rare. But most importantly, Indian filmmakers are masters of the art of seduction. There might not be any sex in Bollywood movies, nevertheless they sure are sexy. Actually, it’s precisely because there’s no sex that they’re full of so much incredible tension, that will be missing entirely from Hollywood movies these days. In what of film critic Roger Ebert, “it is less erotic to snoggle for 60 minutes than spend 60 seconds wondering if you should be about to be snoggled.” He was speaking about Bollywood.
Sometimes Bollywood musical numbers act as an alternative for sex, depicting it not in any crass, overt way, but implicitly, even metaphorically. The characters tend to be so overly enthusiastic with passion that they suddenly come in exotic locations across the world-the pyramids of Egypt, the canals of Venice, the mountains of Switzerland-places that have nothing related to the plot but have everything related to the limitlessness of fantasy.
Why are Bollywood films so long?
First of all, Indians are used to longer types of entertainment. Cricket matches work for days. So do Indian weddings. A three-hour movie isn’t long at all in comparison. Also, Indians are generally value-conscious. They expect a complete afternoon or evening of entertainment for the buying price of a ticket.
But the largest reason Bollywood films are long is artistic. The full time commitment required of the audience heightens their emotional investment in the story. (The same will additionally apply to operas, which can be as long as well as more than Hindi films.) The effect may be powerfully moving, even for Americans accustomed to shorter films.
Bollywood movies are becoming shorter, though, mostly because there are fewer musical numbers than there used to be. While three and a half hours was once typical, three hours or less is now the norm.
What’s the largest artistic difference between Bollywood and Hollywood?
In a phrase: “masala.” The thought of masala is key to understanding Bollywood films. It’s a culinary term that means “spicy mixture.” Masala filmmaking combines several genre in the same movie, blending aspects of comedy, romance, action, and drama. The goal is to attract as many individuals as possible. That way there’s something for anyone in every film-the grandparents, the parents, the teenagers, the little kids-because Indians often go to the movies as a family.
Hollywood filmmakers do the opposite-they do super-narrow niche marketing to a target the demographic groups they think are the most profitable (and then ignore everyone else). One exception to this could function as James Bond movies, which have been enormously successful for decades. There’s action, needless to say, romance, some campy comedy, and even only a little melodrama when James feels bad about his closest friend betraying him or his latest lover dying in his arms.
That’s not to imply that Bollywood films are masala. Many strictly fall into one genre or another, but even then, there’s often a splash of masala thrown in.
Do Bollywood actors work in Hollywood?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the initial Indian actor to significantly crossover in the West. She appeared in The Mistress of Spices (2005) with Dylan McDermott, The Last Legion (2007) with Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley, and Pink Panther 2 (2009) with Steve Martin. She has also garnered more high-profile publicity in the West than some other Bollywood actor, having appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Show with David Letterman, and 60 Minutes.
Two Bollywood actors appeared in the Oscar-winning British film Slumdog Millionaire (that’s right, it’s a British film): Anil Kapoor, who played the sleazy game-show host, and Irrfan Khan, who played law enforcement interrogator. Kapoor has since appeared in the hit American television series 24, which stars actor Kiefer Sutherland. Kapoor played a Middle-Eastern leader in the show for starters season. Ahead of Slumdog Millionaire, Khan appeared in the English-language films The Namesake (2006), A Mighty Heart (2007), and The Darjeeling Limited (2007).
Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat will star opposite Avatar actor Laz Alonso in the upcoming Hollywood political comedy, Love, Barack. Sherawat will play a volunteer coordinator on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, who falls in deep love with her counterpart on John McCain’s campaign, played by Alonso. Sherawat can also be appearing in another upcoming Hollywood film, Hisss, alongside Irrfan Khan.