Bollywood: The Gem of the Film Industry

What comes to mind when you think of film?

Flashing cameras? Gorgeous actresses and handsome actors? The red carpet? California? The towering Hollywood letters?

The film industry in the United States is huge and has a long, deep-rooted history. The film industry as a whole hit the ground running in the late 1800’s, with slow motion pictures. Hollywood experienced its Golden Age in the 1930’s with the introduction of colored pictures and sound in the films; the industry has been growing ever since and Hollywood is now known as the hub for fame, glamour, and show business.

While we all think of Hollywood as the thriving film industry of our day and age, we tend to forget one region of the world with a similar history to the film industry in the United States. In India, Mumbai is home of the red carpets, flashing cameras, and Bollywood. Bollywood has become a powerful film industry throughout the world producing thousands of movies every year. Beginning around the same time as Hollywood experienced its Golden Age, the Bollywood Film Industry began creating its own movies.

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The above photograph features Priyanka Chopra, one of the most popular Bollywood actresses of today. She is now featured on the American TV Crime Series, Quantico.

Bollywood is a play on the name Hollywood; the “B” replaces the “H” because the film industry began in Bombay (which is now Mumbai). The name was created in the 1970’s but the earliest Indian films date back to 1913. The silent film Raja Harishchandra, was the first Indian feature film. Throughout the 1920’s, the films were either of the fantasy or historical genres. Come 1931, the first talking movie Alam Ara was released and set an example for the future of Indian film. After this release, the number of films produced in the country tripled, color movies saw an increase in popularity, movie theatres increased, and tickets became more affordable. Continuing into the 1940’s, the Indian Film Industry underwent significant changes in the genres and focuses of the films. The genres shifted to increased emphasis on social critiques, and the films began to cover topics such as the “dowry system, polygamy, and prostitution (2).” And then by the 1950’s and 60’s, topics such as the lower class struggles and overall sense of reality and truth were heavily emphasized in the films. These changes in the direction of the film industry are paralleled with social and political changes occurring in India during the post-Independence era.

Today, Bollywood is completely different industry than it was at its beginning. Bollywood film director, Manmohan Desai, best describes the Bollywood industry today when he discusses his goals for his films. He says, “I want people to forget their misery. I want to take them into a dream world where there is no poverty, where there are no beggars, where fate is kind and god is busy looking after his flock.” The current film industry has a wide variety of hilarious comedy, intense action, heart-breaking drama, and beautiful romance films.

There are so many unique and loveable parts of the Bollywood film industry, but the talented actors and actresses are easily at the top of that list. Since the beginning of this industry, actors and actresses have been and continue to be the driving force behind the production of these films. Here is a list of some of the most famous Bollywood actors and actresses throughout the decades.

Decades Actors Actresses
1950’s Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Nargis Sinha, Mala Sinha
1960’s Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kapoor Meena Kumari, Vyjintimala, Sharmila Tagore, Madhubala, Asha Parekh, Saira Banu
1970’s Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Jaya Bachchan, Jaya Prada, Zeenat Aman, Rekha
1980’s Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor Sridevi, Juhi Chawala, Meenakshi, Padmini, Poonam Dhillon
1990’s Shahrukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Aamir Khan, Sunny Deol Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Kajol, Pooja Bhatt, Divya Bharti, Rani Mukherjee, Karishma Kapoor Ashwariya Rai Bachchan
2000’s and today Salman Khan (top paid Bollywood actor – makes over $33 million a year), Shahrukh Khan, Akhshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgan, Aamir Khan Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan

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The above photograph features many famous modern Bollywood actors and actresses.

Practically all Bollywood films feature dancing and singing from the actors., but not enough to consider Bollywood films to be considered musicals. These pieces are more interludes in the movie in which the dancing and singing portrays the emotions felt by the characters in the film. The actors and actresses usually mouth many of the songs while dancing. It is a necessity for all Bollywood actors and actresses to be talented dancers with formal training. These pieces really dramatize the events occurring in the films, which is one of the reasons why these films are so great.

The YouTube clip below is the song “Deewangi Deewangi” in the movie Om Shanti OmThis movie features Shah Rukh Khan, who is arguably the most famous Bollywood actor of all time. The song includes a dance and includes many appearances from other famous actors and actresses.

Practically all Bollywood films feature dancing and singing from the actors., but not enough to consider Bollywood films to be considered musicals. These pieces are more interludes in the movie in which the dancing and singing portrays the emotions felt by the characters in the film. The actors and actresses usually mouth many of the songs while dancing. It is a necessity for all Bollywood actors and actresses to be talented dancers with formal training. These pieces really dramatize the events occurring in the films, which is one of the reasons why these films are so great.

The Bollywood Industry has seen significant growth over the past years. At the beginning of the industry, less than 100 movies were produced over the course of four years. Today, 1,000 feature films are produced in one year all over India in the various languages and cities. Even international audiences have taken great interests in the films and the popularity of the industry is growing every year. My personal favorite movie, Dhoom 3, collected $85 million in revenue in the United States over the course of the first two weeks it was released.

No other film industry can take an audience to a world where every thing is perfect, where the good character always wins, where love and passion are ever so strong. Watching these Bollywood films makes viewers feel and recognize the beauty of human emotions. The music and dramatic scenes strengthen these emotions. This is something you will not experience while viewing American films. If you have never scene a Bollywood film, I would highly recommend taking 3 hours out of your day (yes they are a lot longer than American films) to watch one and I guarantee you will love it.

 

See Also:

(1)http://www.britannica.com/topic/Bollywood-film-industry-India

(2) http://worldfilm.about.com/od/bollywood/a/historyofbollywood.htm

(3) http://historycooperative.org/the-history-of-the-hollywood-movie-industry/

(4)http://filmsplusmovies.com/best-actors-and-actresses-of-bollywood-decade-wise/

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