What is Bollywood

We've all heard of it but what is Bollywood exactly? Well, Bollywood is an epithet used for the Mumbai-based Hindi film industry that is so ravishingly popular all across the world. Coined after conflating “Bombay” and “Hollywood”, Bollywood is a pulsating and mesmerizing land interspersed with filmmakers, film stars, film producers, film releases, makeup and awards, not to mention hits and flops that make and break the careers of personalities involved in its operations.

In essence, however, Bollywood is something more – it is a one-stop shop for full-fledged celluloid entertainment that comes with a grand and exquisite lure for viewers on a global basis. So great is the appeal of this appellation that although Bombay has taken on a new name, ‘Mumbai’ quite a while ago, Bollywood has not yet caught up as ‘Mollywood’…. and probably it never will.Bollywood produces more than 800 films every year, which is actually double the amount (or slightly more) that is produced by the film industry in the US.

What is Bollywood’s secret of success

Indians love movies, especially ‘masala’ movies that are perky, lively, vivacious and energetic. And Bollywood is known for its superior aptitude in making such grand masala films. Most movies of Bollywood are of 3-4 hours duration (with an Interval/Intermission) and features exciting plots, numerous song-dance sequences (with actors and choreographed dancers moving to the tunes), extravagant sets, exotic locales, top rated actors and of course, a sweet and happy ending. A survey shows that approximately 14 million Indians buy tickets for watching movies in theaters on a daily basis.

Bollywood dialogues, scripts, lyrics and dance

The movie scripts in Bollywood are often hand-written and so are the dialogues. The plots revolve around a variety of themes – from the thriller to the romantic – and the dialogues are mostly emotional and melodramatic. Mainly composed in Hindi, the dialogues are also often punctuated by Urdu, and English too, in modern day mainstream movies.

Bollywood’s song lyrics are also hugely popular all over the globe and often a part of celebrations and rituals that are held in real life. Song lyrics are mostly touching and seasoned with strains of love, affection and devotion.

Choreographers in Bollywood are very much in demand now-a-days, given the ever-growing popularity of elaborate and enthusiastic song and dance sequences. Farah Khan is one of the most in-demand choreographers in the industry now.


Stardom in Bollywood is unpredictable – popularity of the actors here rises and falls with release of movies every Friday. Yes, there are national icons too, like Amitabh Bachchan, who enjoy unfazed popularity all through but the fate of most stars is decided by box-office results. Competition here is fierce and industry connections do not guarantee success.


The Filmfare Awards, since its inception in 1953, have been the most prestigious award till date that Bollywood presents to its actors and filmmakers on a yearly basis. Something similar to the Academy Awards of Hollywood, the Filmfare Awards is a star-studded, glamorous event that is awaited with bated breath all through the year by small and big names in the industry.

What is Bollywood's future? Well it looks brighter with every passing day and films like “Ra-One” have come forward to show that the special effects which have been so typical of Hollywood till date, is no longer alien to this segment of the Indian filmmaking industry. Bollywood’s popularity outshines many other worlds of equal caliber -- so grand and exquisite it is and it is expected to grow even more in the future.

Hopefully this article has helped to enlighten you a little as to what is Bollywood. In certain cinemas in the states and in Europe it is possible to see a Bollywood film and they are definitely worth checking out!

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