Bollywood: Facts and History

India Week's picture

For India Week we are focusing on Indian Entertainment, Music and Film today. It is impossible to look at such a topic without looking at Bollywood. Bollywood IS Indian entertainment in many aspects. So if you don't know too much about India's Hollywood, then here is a short introduction for you.

History and Style

Bollywood is basically the informal name for the Hindi Film Industry based in Mumbai, which is one of the largest centres of film production in the world. Although it is the largest in India, it is only part of the total Indian film industry, despite the term Bollywood often incorrectly referring to the whole of Indian cinema.

It all started way back in 1913 with the first silent feature film made in India, called Raja Harishchandra. Over the next twenty years the Indian film industry grew so quickly that by the 1930s, the country was producing over 200 films a year. It was in 1931 when Alam Ara became the first Indian film with sound, but not until the late 1950s when films started to regularly be made in colour.

Throughout their history, the majority of Bollywood films have had a very distinct style, with far more of a focus on music than their Hollywood counterparts. They are often referred to as 'masala' (spicy) movies, which instead of trying to be too realistic, are laden with melodrama through the forms of music, dance, violence and comedy. Traditionally, good music is often the main attribute of a successful film.

Interesting Bollywood Facts

  • The highest worldwide grossing Bollywood film of all time is Three Idiots. Released in 2009 it made over $77 million (385 crores). 
  • In terms of numbers of films produced, Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world with over 1000 films every year.
  • Bollywood films are watched by almost 14 million Indians everyday.
  • A recent science fiction film called Ra.One is the most expensive movie ever produced in Bollywood, with a budget of about $27 million (135 crores).
  • Every year, there are 6 award ceremonies that celebrate Bollywood cinema.

Bollywood vs Hollywood

Visit the India Week Home page to see much more...

Share with friends