About Bollywood Mumbai:
Mumbai, the City of Dreams, houses the prime centre of Hindi Film Industry, better known as Bollywood. Acclaimed as one of the biggest film industries of the world, Bollywood produces over 1000 films every year. Since 1913, Indian Cinema has made a long journey from simple silent movies to sound films, then colored films to technically advanced movies of the present day. Bollywood imbibed its name from the merger of the term Bombay (now Mumbai) and Hollywood, the American Film Industry. Another point worth-mentioning is that Bollywood is just the part of Indian Film Industry, which also encompasses other language film industries. The movies churned out here are the major source of entertainment, with an audience of 3.6 billion people, which is more than half of the world’s population. Bypassing the reality, Hindi films are usually ‘masala’ (spicy) movies that comprise all the ingredients like music, dance, violence and melodrama of a good entertainer. The languages of Hindi, Urdu and English are extremely common in Bollywood.
General Fact About Bollywood Mumbai:
- Production-wise, Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world with over 1000 films produced every year.
- Its movies are watched by almost 14 million Indians everyday. ]
- Raja Harishchandra (1913) was the first silent feature film of India.
- ‘Alam Ara’ – the first Indian sound film was released in 1931.
- Kisan Kanya (1937) was the first colored movie produced in India.
- ‘Kagaz ke Phool’ (1959) was the first cinemascope film of Bollywood.
- The first 70 MM film of Bollywood was ‘Around the World’.
- The first 3D movie in Hindi was ‘Shiva ka Insaaf’.
- ‘Noorjahan’ (1931) was the first Indian English film.
- Every year, Bollywood movies are celebrated in no less than 6 award functions.
What is “Bollywood”?
Bollywood is the name given to the Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. When combined with other Indian film industries (Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada), it is considered to be the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced, and maybe also the number of tickets sold.
The term Bollywood was created by conflating Bombay (the city now called Mumbai) and Hollywood (the famous center of the United States film industry).
Bollywood films are usually musicals. Few movies are made without at least one song-and-dance number. Indian audiences expect full value for their money; they want songs and dances, love interest, comedy and dare-devil thrills, all mixed up in a three hour long extravaganza with intermission. Such movies are called masala movies, after the spice mixture masala. Like masala, these movies have everything.
The plots are often melodramatic. They frequently employ formulaic ingredients such as star-crossed lovers, corrupt politicians, twins separated at birth, conniving villains, angry parents, courtesans with hearts of gold, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences.
History of Bollywood:
At the turn of this century, when the country was poised for major social and political reforms, a new entertainment form dawned in India-the Cinema. The first exposure to motion pictures which India received was in 1896, when the Lumiere Brothers’ Chinematographe unveiled six soundless short films at Watson Hotel, Esplanade Mansion, Bombay on July 7. And the first exposing of celluloid in camera by an Indian and its consequent screening took place in 1899, when Harishchandra Bhatvadekar (Save Dada) shot two short films and exhibited them under Edison’s projecting kinetoscope. Hiralal Sen and F.B. Thanawalla were two other Indian pioneers engaged in the production of short films in Calcutta and Bombay in 1900. Around 1902, J.F. Madan and Abdullah Esoofally launched their career with Bioscope shows of imported short films. In 1912 , N.G. Chitre and R.G. Torney made a silent feature film Pundalik which was released on May 18, and it was half British in its make. Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, more generally known as Dada Saheb Phalke was responsible for the production of India’s first fully indigenous silent feature film Raja Harishchandra which heralded the birth of the Indian film industry. The film had titles in Hindi and English and was released on May 3, 1913 at the Coronation Cinema, Bombay. In 1917, Bengal saw the birth of its first feature film-Satyabadi Raja Harishchandra made by Madan’s Elphinstone Bioscope Company. In Madras, the first feature film of South India Keechaka Vadham was made by Nataraja Mudaliar in 1919. After stepping into 1920, the Indian cinema gradually assumed the shape of a regular industry. The industry also came within the purview of the law. The new decade saw the arrival of many new companies and film makers. Dhiren Ganguly (England Returned), Baburao Painter (Savkari Pash), Suchet Singh (Sakuntala), Chandulal Shah (Guna Sundari), Ardershir Israni, and V. Santharam were the prominent film makers of the twenties. The most remarkable things about the birth of the sound film in India is that it came with a bang and quickly displaced the silent movies. The first Indian talkie Alam Ara produced by the Imperial film company and directed by Ardershir Irani was released on March 14, 1931 at the Majestic Cinema in Bombay; The talkie had brought revolutionary changes in the whole set up of the industry. The year 1931 marked the beginning of the talking ear in Bengal and South India. The first talkie films in Bengali (Jumai Shasthi), Telugu (Bhakta Prahlad) and Tamil (Kalidass) were released in the same year. The thirties is recognised as the decade of social protests in the history of Indian Cinema. Three big banners-Prabhat, Bombay Talkies and New Theatres gave the lead in making serious but gripping sand entertaining films for all classes of the wide audience. A number of films making a strong plea against social injustice were also made in this period like V.Santharam’s Duniya Na Mane, Aadmi and Padosi, Franz Osten’s Achut Kanya, Damle & Fatehlal’s Sant Thukaram, Mehboob’s Watan, Ek hi Raasta and Aurat. For the first time Ardeshir Irani attempted a colour picture in 1937 with Kisan Kanya. The decade also witnessed the release of the first talkie films in Marathi (Ayodhiyecha Raja 1932), Gujarathi (Narasinh Mehta-32), Kannada (Dhurvkumar-34); Oriya (Sita Bibaha-34); Assamese (Joymati-35); Punjabi (Sheila-35) and Malayalam(Balan-38). The decade during which the second world was fought and Indian independence won, was a momentous one for cinematography all over India. Some memorable films were produced during the forties such as Shantharam’s Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani, Mehboob’s Roti, Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar, Uday Shanker’s Kalpana, Abbas’s Dharti Ke Lal, Sohrab Modi’s Sikander, Pukar and Prithvi Vallabh, J.B.H. Wadia’s Court Dancer, S.S. Vasan’s Chandralekha, Vijay Bhatt’s Bharat Milap and Ram Rajya, Rajkapoor’s Barsaat and Aag. The first International Film Festival of India held in early 1952 at Bombay had great impact of Indian Cinema. The big turning point camp in 1955 with the arrival of Satyajit Ray and his classic Pather Panchali which opened up a new path leading the Indian film to the World Film Scene. International recognition came to it with the Cannes award for best human document followed by an unprecedented crop of foreign and national awards. In Hindi Cinema too, the impact of neorealism was evident in some distinguished films like Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin, Devadas and Madhumati, Rajkapoor’s Boot Polish, Shri-420 and Jagte Raho, V. Shantharam’s Do Aankhen Barah Haath and Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Mehbood’s Mother India. Gurudutt’s Pyaasa, and Kagaz Ke Phool and B.R. Chopra’s Kanoon; The first Indo-Soviet co-production Pardesi by K.A.Abbas was also made during the fifties. The transition to colour and the consequent preference for escapist entertainment and greater reliance on stars brought about a complete change in the film industry. The sixties was a decade of mediocre films made mostly to please the distributors and to some extent, meet the demands of the box office. The sixties began with a bang with the release of K. Asif’s Mughal-E-Azam which set a record at the box-office. It was followed by notable productions which include romantic musical and melodramas of a better quality. Rajkapoor’s Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, Dilip Kumar’s Gunga Jamna, Gurudutt’s Sahib Bibi Aur Gulam, Dev Anand’s Guide; Bimal Roy’s Bandini, S.Mukherji’s Junglee, Sunil Dutt’s Mujhe Jeene Do and the experimental Yaadein, Basu Bhatacharya’s Teesri Kasam, Pramod Chakravorthy’s Love in Tokyo, Ramanand Sagar’s Arzoo, Sakhti Samantha’s Aradhana, Hrishikesh Mukherji’s Aashirwad and Anand, B.R. Chopra’s Waqt, Manoj Kumar’s Upkar, and Prasad Productions Milan were the significant Hindi films of the decade. Among the regional languages, Malayalam cinema derived much of its strength from literature during the sixties. Malayalam cinema hit the head lines for the first time when Ramu Kariat’s Chemmeen (1965) won the President’s Gold Medal. Towards the end of the decade, Mrinal Sen’s Bhuvan Shome, signalled the beginnings of the new wave in Indian Cinema. The New Indian Cinema emerged as a reaction to the popular cinema’s Other Worldiness. It is a cinema of social significance and artistic sincerity, presenting a modern, humanist perspective more durable than the fantasy world of the popular cinema. Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen were the founding fathers of the new cinema in India. Acclaimed as India’s foremost director Satyajit Ray has made 30 feature films and five documentaries, tacking a wide range of rural, urban historical themes. His cinematography places him away form the inheritors of the neorealist school, and yet his films are infused with an unusual humaneness. Pather Panchali, Apur Sansar, Charulata, Jalsaghar, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Seemabadha, Jana Aranya, Ashani Sanket and Agantuk are some of his outstanding films. He was fortunate enough to present his films in almost all the leading films festivals of the world. The national and international awards won by Ray are numerous. Ritwik Ghatak swooped on the Indian scene with new dynamism. His films constitute a record of the traumas of change form the desperation of the rootless and deprived refugees from East Bengal .(Meghe Dhaka Tara, Ajantrik, Komal Ghandhar, Subarnarekha). Mrinal Sen is the ebullient one-experimenting with neorealism as well as new wave and fantasy. His notable films are Bhuvan Shome, Chorus, Mrigaya, Ek Din Pratidin, Akaler Sandhane, Kharij & Khandahar. He has also won several national an international awards. In Bombay, a new group of film makers emerged on the Hindi cinema. Notable amongst them are Basu Chatterji (Sara Akash), Rajinder Singh Bedi (Dastak), Mani Kaul (Uski Roti, Duvidha), Kumar Shahani (Maya Darpan), Avtar Kaul (27-Down), Basu Bhattacharya (Anubhav), M.S. Sathyu (Garam Hawa), Shyam Benegal (Ankur), and Kanthilal Rathod (Kanku). In Calcutta, following the trend set by Ray, Ghatak and Sen, Tapan Sinha and Tarun Majumdar also made some note worthy films. (Kabuliwala, Hatey Bazarey, Harmonium, Safed Haathi; Balika Bodhu, Nimantran, Ganadevta, Dadar Kirti). The seventies has further-widened the gap between multistar big budgeted off beat films. The popular Hindi hits of the decade include Kamal Amrohis Pakeeza, Rajkapoor’s Bobby , Devar’s Haathi Mere Saathi, Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay, Zanjeer, Deewar, Khoon Pasina, Yaadon Ki Baarat, Kabhi Kabhi, Dharamveer, Amar Akbar Anthony, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, and Muqaddar ka Sikandar. Of these majority of the films were action oriented with revenge as the dominating theme. Down in the South, the new wave cinema originated in Karnataka and Kerala. Pattabhi Rama Reddy’s Damskara (70) and Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Swayamvaram (72) were the trend setters in Kannada and Malayalam respectively. This continued with a series of socially conspicuous films like M.T. Vasidevan Nair’s Nirmalyam, B.V.Karanth’s Chomana Dudi, Girish Karnad’s Kaadu, Girish Kasara Valli’s Ghatasradha, G. Aravindan’s Uttarayanam and Thamp, K. Balachander’s Arangetram, Avargal and Apoorva Ragangal, Adoor’s Kodyettam, K.G. George’s Swapnadanam and P.A. Backer’s Chuvanna Vithukal and G.V.Iyer’s Hamsageethe. The Hindi avante garde or new wave seems to have reached its bloom period towards the end of the seventies with the coming of film makers like Govind Nihalani (Aakrosh), Saeed Mirza (Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, Aravind Desai ki Ajeeb Daastan), Rabindra Dharmaraj (Chakra), Sai Paranjpe (Sparsh), Muzafar Ali (Gaman) and Biplab Roy Chowdhari (Shodh). The movement spread to the other regional cinemas such as Marathi, Gujarathi, Assamese, Oriya and Telugu. Directors like Jabbar Patel (Samna, Simhasan), Ramdas Phuttane (Sarvasakshi), Ketan Mehta (Bhavni Bhavai). Babendranath Saikia(Sandhya Rag), Jahanu Barua (Aparoopa, Papori), Manmohan Mohapatra (Klanta Aparanha, Majhi Pahacha), Nirad Mohapatra (Maya Miriga) and Gautam Ghose (Ma Bhoomi) came to the scene with their films. Also from the South came film makers such as Jayakantan, John Abraham, Bharathan, Padmarajan, Balu Mahendra, Bharathi Raja, T.S. Ranga, T.S. Nagabharana, K.R. Mohanan, G.S. Panicker, Chandrasekhar Kambar, P.Lankesh, C. Radhakrishnan and Bhagyaraj who presented significant films like Unnai Pol Oruvan, Agraharathil Kazhuthai, Prayanam, Peruvazhiambalam and Oridathsoru Phayalvan, Kokila, 16 Vayathinile and Kizhakke Pokum Rail , Geejegand Goodu, Grahana, Aswathama, Ekakini, Kaadu Kudre, Pallavi, Agni, Suvar Illatha Chithrangal and Mundani Mudichu. The new cinema movement continued with full spirit in. the next decade (eighties) also . Shyam Benegal presented some good movies like Manthan, Bhumika, Nishant, Janoon , and Trikal. Nihlani’s Aaghat and Tamas were remarkable works. Other important films with new style of treatment include Damul (Prakash Jha), 36-Chowringhee Lane (Aparna Sen), New Delhi Times (Ramesh Sharma), Mirch Masala (Ketan Mehta), Rao Saheb (Vijaya Mehta), Debshishu (Utpalendu Chakraborthy), Massey Saheb (Pradeep Kishna), Trishagni (Nabayendu Ghosh), Ijaazat (Gulzar), Umrao Jaan (Muzafar Ali), Dakhal, Paar (Gautam Ghose), Dooratwa, Neem Annapurana, Andhi Gali (Buddhadeb Dasgupta), Aajka Robin Hood (Tapan Sinha), Tabarana Kathe, Bannada Vesha (Girish Kasara Valli), Accident & Swamy (Shanker Naag), Daasi (B. Narasinga Rao) and Phaniyamma (Prema Karanth). The new wave masters of Kerala, Adoor and Arvindan, consolidated their position in the eighties with their films Elippathayam, Mukha Mukham, Anantharam, Esthappan, Pokkuveyil, Chidambaram, and Oridath, Elippathayam has won the prestigious British film Institute award for 1982. Shaji N.Karun’s maiden film Piravi(1988) bagged several national and international awards and was shown in nearly forty film festivals. Meera Nair, the young woman director, won the Golden Camera award at Cannes for her first film Salaam Bombay in 1989. In 1990, Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s Mathilukal won the FIPRESCI and UNICEF awards. The late eighties and early nineties saw the revival of the musical love stories in Hindi cinema. Mr. India, Tezaab, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, Main Pyar Kiya, Chandni, Tridev, Hum, Ghayal, Saudagar, Rakhwala, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Hum Hain Rahi Pyarke, Baazigar, Aaina, Yeh Dillagi, Hum Apake Hai Kaun, Krantiveer, Raja and Rangeela were some of the popular Hindi films of the last decade. The first half of nineties witnessed the release of some better films in Hindi as well as in other regional languages. Drishti and Drohkal (Nihalani), Lekin (Gulzar), Disha (Sai Paranjpe), Prahar (Nana Patekar), Parinda (Vinod Chopra), Diskha (Arun Kaul), Kasba (Kumar Shahani), Rudaali (Kalpana Lajmi), Maya Memsaab (Ketan Mehta), Mujhse Dosti Karoge (Gopi Desai), Suraj Ka Satwan Ghoda & Mammo (Benegal), Who Chokri (Subhankar Ghosh)&Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Tapan Sinha), were some of the notable Hindi films from Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Manipur came films like Tahader Katha, Bagh Bahadur, Charachar (Buddhadeb Dasgupta), Uttoran (Sandip Ray), Wheel Chair (Tapan Sinha), Unishe April (Rituparno Ghosh), Adi Mimansa, Lalvanya Preethi (A.K. Bir), Nirbachana (Biplab Roy Chowdhari), Halodhia Choraya Baodhan Khai, Firingoti (Jahau Barua), Haladhar (Sanjeev Hazarika), and Ishanou (Aribam Shayam Sharma). In the South Malayalam Cinema presented some notable films. They include Vasthuhara (Aravindan)_, Vidheyan (Adoor) Kireedom, Bharatham (Siby Mmalayil), Amaram (Bharathan) Innale (Padmarajan), Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, Sargam, Parinayam (Hariharan), Devasuram (I..V.Sasi). Kilukkam, Thenmavin Kombath (Priyadarsan), Perumthachan (Ajayan), Daivathinte Vikurthikal (Lenin Rajendran), (Sivan), Manichithrathazu (Fazil), Ponthanmada (T.V. Chandran) and Swaham (Shaji), From Tamil and Telugu cinema, there came few films like Anjali, Roja and Bombay (Mani Ratnam) ,Marupakkam and Nammavar (Sethsumadhavan),Karuthamma (Bharathi Raja), Surigadu (Dasari Narayana Rao), Swathi Kiranam (K.Viswanath), Mogha Mul (G.Rajasekharan) etc. English film like Miss Beatty’s Children (Pamela Rooks), and English August (Dev Benegal) were also produced during this period. All in all, it has been a long story of nearly nine decades, with the early shaky screen images turning into a multi pronged and multi winged empire of its own, that has yielded about 27,000 feature films and thousands of documented short films. Cinema has raised India’s flag high in the world as the consistently largest film producer. But when it comes to quality the flag has to fly half mast. All the above information is courtesy of: All India.
About Bollywood song and dance:
While most actors, especially today, are excellent dancers, few are also singers. Songs are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers with actors lip-synching the words, often while dancing. One notable exception was Kishore Kumar who starred in several major films in the 1950s while also having a stellar career as a playback singer. K. L. Saigal, Suraiyya and Noor Jehan were also known as both singers and actors. Of late, a few actors have again tried singing for themselves. Amitabh Bachchan, who started the trend of non-singing stars at the mike with the runaway hit “Mere Angane Mein” in “Lawaaris” in the mid-80’s, continued his toe-dipping in singing with turns in “Silsila”, “Mahaan” “Toofan” and more recently in the movies Baghban and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, as well as doing a duet with Adnan Sami in the song Kabhi Nahi (Never). Aamir Khan took a turn singing “Kya Bolti Tu” in Ghulam but only because “the character had attitude that only Aamir could do justice to”, according to director Vikram Bhatt. These forays, while well-received at the time, have not led to real singing careers for either actor.
Playback singers are prominently featured in the opening credits and have their own fans who will go to an otherwise lackluster movie just to hear their favorites. The composers of film music, known as music directors, are also well-known. Their songs can make or break a film and usually do.
The dancing in Bollywood films, especially older ones, is primarily modeled on Indian dance: classical dance styles, dances of historic northern Indian courtesans (tawaif), or folk dances. In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles (as seen on MTV or in Broadway musicals), though it is not unusual to see Western pop and pure classical dance numbers side by side in the same film. The hero or heroine will often perform with a troupe of supporting dancers, usually of the same sex. If the hero and heroine dance and sing a pas-de-deux (a dance and ballet term, meaning “dance of two”), it is often staged in beautiful natural surroundings or architecturally grand settings.
What is Bollywood dancing?
Bollywood dancing is a commercial name for modern Indian dancing. It’s a combination of classical Indian dance (which is the base), folk dancing such as Bhangra and sometimes has a Latino and Arabic influence. It’s fun and very expressive and there’s a lot of deep meaning behind music in the films. You can actually express what the music means, through the graceful movements of the body.
Why is dancing so crucial to Bollywood films?
People in India have been brought up on musicals and if the music in a film isn’t very good, sometimes the movie doesn’t sell. Specific producers, such as Yash Chopra, Karan Johar generally produce movies with phenomenal and very emotional songs; hence the dancing comes into play.
Choreographers are now starting to take the industry by storm because Farah Khan – a famous choreographer recently directed her first movie called Main Hoon Na. This goes to show that people want to see elaborate and funky dance sequences, they don’t want pure acting, hence dancing is a crucial.
Dialogues and lyrics in Bollywood films:
The film script (frequently credited as “Dialogues”) and the song lyrics are often written by different people. The dialogues are mostly written in Hindi, with use of Urdu in situations which require poetic dialogues. Contemporary mainstream movies also make great use of English. Dialogues are often melodramatic and invoke God, family, mother, and self-sacrifice liberally.
– In the 1975 film Deewar, a dialogue between the gangster brother Vijay and his policeman brother Ravi:
Vijay: Hum dono ek hi jagah se apni zindagi ki shuruwat ki thi — aaj main kaha hoon aur tum kahan ho. Mere paas gaadi hai, bungalow hai, daulat hai — kya hai tumhaarey paas?
We both started our lives from the same place — look where I am today and where you are. I have cars, bungalows, wealth — what do you have?
Ravi: Mere paas ma hai.
I have Mother.
Music directors often prefer working with certain lyricists, to the point that the lyricist and composer are seen as a team. Song lyrics are usually about love. Bollywood song lyrics, especially in the old movies, frequently use Urdu or Hindustani vocabulary which has many elegant and poetic Arabic and Persian loan-words. Here’s a sample from the 1983 film Hero, written by the great lyricist Anand Bakshi:
Bichhdey abhi to hum, bas kal parso,
jiyoongi main kaisey, is haal mein barson?
Maut na aayi, teri yaad kyon aayi,
Haaye, lambi judaayi!
We have been separated just a day or two,
How am I going to go on this way for years?
Death doesn’t come; why, instead, do these memories of you?
Oh, this long separation!
Potpourri of Various Elements of Life Infact, numerous English films have also been produced by the directors of India. Not only English, sometimes, one can find amalgamation of a number of Indian languages in a single film, whether in its dialogues, subtitles or soundtracks. The films of Bollywood are typically musicals that have some or the other catchy music woven into the script. Good music, in the form of songs and dance numbers, is the main attribute of a successful film. The plot of movies is, more often than not, melodramatic. It usually has features like unlucky lovers and angry parents, love triangles, family attachments, sacrifice, crooked politicians, kidnappers, devious villains, courtesans with golden-hearts, long-lost relatives, theatrical reversals of destiny, siblings estranged by fate and opportune coincidences. Though the pattern is changing, films with hilarious stunts, technically advanced films, and art films are being produced. Evolution The first silent feature film of India was Raja Harishchandra (1913), which was made by Dadasaheb Phalke. It was by the 1930’s that the industry started producing more than 200 films every year. Alam Ara (1931) was the first Indian sound film, produced by Ardeshir Irani. With the bang of the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian Independence Movement and the Partition Violence, Bollywood suffered and then emerged with plots of social issues and independence struggle. By the late 1950s, the first color films of the Bollywood were released. During this period, the films were defined by sumptuous romantic musicals and melodramas. The period of late 1960s and early 1970s gave rise to romantic movies, action films and violent films. In the mid 1990’s, the box-office was stroked by family-centric romantic musicals once again. The quality, cinematography, innovative story lines and technical quality advances of the filmmaking have taken Indian cinema to great heights.
Cast and crew in Bollywood films:
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. Just as in Hollywood very few succeed.
Stardom in the entertainment industry is very fickle, and Bollywood is no exception. Popularity of the stars can rise and fall rapidly, based on single movies. Very few people become national icons, who are unaffected by success or failure of their movies, like Amitabh Bachchan. Directors compete to hire the most popular stars of the day, who are believed to guarantee the success of a movie (though this belief is not always supported by box-office results). Hence stars make the most of their fame, once they become popular, by making several movies simultaneously. Aamir Khan is one of the few actors who is notable for his insistence on doing only one movie at a time.
Bollywood can be clannish, and the relatives of film-industry insiders have an edge in getting coveted roles. One notable film clan is the Kapoors: the patriarch Prithviraj Kapoor, his sons Raj Kapoor, Shammi, and Shashi, Raj’s sons Randhir, Rishi, and Rajiv, and Randhir’s daughters Karisma and Kareena Kapoor, have all been popular actors or even stars. Yet industry connections are no guarantee of a long career: competition is brutal and if film industry scions don’t succeed at the box office, their careers will falter.
The Indian 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 (Stardust 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
They all sponsor elaborately staged award ceremonies, featuring singing, dancing, and lots of stars and starlets.
Since 1973, the Indian government has sponsored the National Film Awards, awarded by the government-sponsored Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF). The DFF screens not only Bollywood films, but films from all the other regional cinemas and independent/art films. These awards are handed out at a ceremony presided over by the President of India and hence are coveted by all.
Finances in Bollywood films:
Bollywood budgets are usually modest by Hollywood standards. Sets, costumes, special effects, and cinematography were less than world-class up until the mid-to-late 1990s. But as Western films and television gain wider distribution in India itself, there is increasing pressure for Bollywood films to attain the same production levels. Sequences shot overseas have proved a real box office draw, so Mumbai film crews are increasingly peripatetic, filming in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, continental Europe and elsewhere. Nowadays, Indian producers are drawing in more and more funding for big-budget films shot within India as well, such as Lagaan, Devdas, and the current production The Rising.
Funding for Bollywood films often comes from private distributors and a few large studios. Indian banks were forbidden to lend money to film productions, but this ban has been lifted recently. 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. In January of 2000, Mumbai mafia hitmen shot at Rakesh Roshan, film director and father of star Hrithik Roshan; he had rebuffed mob attempts to meddle with his film distribution. In 2001 the Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s national police agency, seized all prints of the film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke after the movie was found to be funded by members of the Mumbai underworld.
Another problem facing Bollywood is piracy of its films. Often pirated DVDs arrive before the print for the picture. Factories in Pakistan and India stamp out thousands of illegal DVDs, VCDs, and VHS tapes, which are then shipped all over the world. (Copying is particularly rife in Pakistan, since the government has banned the import of Indian films, leaving piracy as the only way to distribute them.) Films are frequently broadcast without compensation by countless small cable-TV companies in India and Asia. Small Indian grocery-spice-video stores in the U.S. and the U.K. stock tapes and DVDs of dubious provenance while consumer copying adds to the problem.
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. ‘Foreign’ audiences—in Asian and Western countries—are also growing, if more slowly.
21st century Bollywood The 21st century brought immense popularity to the Bollywood, so much so that its films appeal the audience of all segments. Owing to aperture of the abroad market, more movies are released abroad and in cine-multiplexes that cause wider box office successes in India and overseas.
What problems does Bollywood face?
Bollywood’s biggest problem is piracy – where people copy the films and either sell them or show them to other people for free. At the moment not all films made make more money than they cost to make, even though they can be seen by around one billion people.
If everyone paid to see the film legally the industry would make lots more money. At the moment Bollywood film producers are trying to work out a way to stop this happening. Another problem is that younger generations sometimes find the stories a bit predictable and are get bored of the similar tales. Film-makers are trying to solve this by changing storylines to reflect real life – like the fact that children of Indian families now study abroad.
What’s the future for Bollywood?
The future looks even brighter for Bollywood. Big US film companies such as Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox are setting up offices in India. Where Indian film makers have found it difficult to compete with Hollywood’s special effects, this is seen as the next big area for Bollywood to develop.
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