All About Bollywood

Bollywood is the national film industry of India and 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. It takes it's name from the combination of Bombay, the countries capital, and Hollywood. Bollywood is a phenomenon in India matched only in popularity by cricket and curry

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Film Genres

The films are always way over the top with regards to exaggerated and seriously lengthy plots which nearly always consist of five main themes: The biggest and latest hits, massive dance scenes, death-defying stunts, comedy, romance and love. Often denoted as 'Masala movies', these films are nearly always musicals with very few films denying at least one song and dance act.

Other extra ingredients can be added at will by any discerning film producer and often include wayward love triangles interspersed with corrupt politicians, kidnappings, irritable parents and perhaps the most obvious connection to western cinema is the physically and morally indestructible hero and a manipulative and spiritually void collection of villains.

Despite these often 'cliché' stories and the even more cliché characters the films are nonetheless magnificent pieces of beauty in their own rights making it difficult to avoid the term art when talking about them. The dance scenes are short stories of their own with the power and effect to bring a man to the breaking point before immediately raising his spirits to the ceiling.

In some instances, the length of the films can be a hard to bear even for a die hard fanatic with an average duration of three hours without intermission.

The staff, cast and stars

Like India herself, the industry prides itself on the diversity of it's employees with people drawn in from every corner of the sub-continent and indeed the world as huge amounts of foreign extras are hired. The film industry is also famous for having some of the most beautiful actresses in the world.

As I am sure you are aware, the film industry is a very challenging place to catch a break and it is no different in India; Take 1.3 billion people with high hopes it is easy to see why. And even then, once at the top it is not uncommon for stars to last only the duration of a films release before falling of the ladder. Unlike Hollywood, the industry is highly erratic and this constant rise and fall of idols occurs so rapidly that actors tend to make two or three films at the same to time to make the most of this period of fame. They are all aware that one 'flop' could mean a fall from grace. Directors and producers hold the belief, perhaps falsely, that the success of the film depends purely on the fame of the star so they're always competing to get the hottest actor/ress for their movie.

Like the US government, the most desirable positions are often attained by means of the motto: 'It's not what you know, but who you know'. Despite this, the clannish behavior is in no way a guarantee to success in this tough industry as actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan have proved.

Song and Dance

The music found in the movies is called 'Filmi' music taken from the Hindi word for film. It is considered odd in India if the soundtrack of a popular film is not at the number one position of the music charts. The lyrics of the songs are usually based on the activity taking place in the current or preceding scene and these scenes are usually written into the script, giving the character a reason to sing. The song's content is usually based upon or around one, two and sometimes three characters inner thoughts combined with a hint of what has already happened and a clue of what is to come.

As is fairly evident in all but the most recent  films is the fact that the singing – in most cases anyway, is lip-synced or dubbed. The actress/Actor moves her lips and the singing is done by professional singers in the studio.Dancing on the other hand, is a slightly harder thing to fake and any aspiring star has to be fully trained and confident before even getting on a train to Mumbai. The origins of these visualizing stunning displays come from traditional Indian dance from all around India but specifically the North. Although the slow crawl of Western influence gradually begins show in the styles and choreography of the dance scenes, they still remain whole heartedly and innocently Indian and continue to impress and amaze audiences around the world.


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