What is Bollywood?

Brendan McGuigan

Bollywood is a popular name for the film industry in India. The name is a combination of Bombay, the former name of the city of Mumbai, where the Indian film industry is based, and Hollywood, the capital of cinema in the United States and a de facto symbol for movies worldwide. The majority of Bollywood films use the Hindi, Urdu or Hindustani languages. It has become more common, however, for these films to include the extensive use of English as well, both in songs and in dialogue, as English has become more widely known in India and as Bollywood’s export market has increased.

Bombay, the former name of Mumbai, gives Bollywood part of its name.
Bombay, the former name of Mumbai, gives Bollywood part of its name.

More Tickets Sold than Hollywood

The Bollywood market is enormous. It is the largest film market in the world in terms of both films released and tickets sold, with more than four billion tickets sold each year. The market is far behind Hollywood in terms of financial income, however, because of a wide disparity in ticket prices and the prices of recorded movies.

Bollywood is a popular name for the film industry in India.
Bollywood is a popular name for the film industry in India.

At one time, Bollywood films often had a lower production quality than their Hollywood counterparts. As Hollywood movies and Western television have become more prevalent throughout India, however, Bollywood has had to improve its quality to keep up. Although most modern films made in India still are produced for a much lower cost than Hollywood films, the gap in production quality has been reduced.

Extravagant Designs and Intricate Dance Routines

Costumes and sets are important in most Bollywood productions, much like they were in Hollywood during the 1950s. Bright colors, lavish designs and exotic locations are all staples of Bollywood films. Perhaps the most iconic aspect of these films — certainly to Western audiences — is their reliance on musical numbers and dance routines. Although they are not strictly musicals by the common definition, these films do tend to have grand, intricately choreographed dance scenes with accompanying songs that usually were made specially for the film. This is not unlike many Hollywood movies of the 1940s and 1950s, which used music and dance as a way to further the plot and provide a diverting entertainment without actually depending on the song and dance for the core of the film.

Bollywood films are popular throughout the world, not only because of the large numbers of people from India and Pakistan who live in other countries but because many people find them to be well made and entertaining. A huge import market exists in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and countries that have many people from Indian or Pakistan. Bollywood movies also are wildly popular in the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Iran.

Bollywood movies are wildly popular in the Middle East.
Bollywood movies are wildly popular in the Middle East.

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Discussion Comments


Bollywood movie quality is quite similar to Hollywood. they are almost the same now. Both the industries are combining in many different ways in terms of music and actors and camera graphics, etc. So it's almost the same.

Many Hollywood actors are working in Bollywood and vice versa.

A must watch is a new movie called Guzaarish. The actor, Hrithik Roshan, has performed amazingly. Truly amazing and an outstanding acting and performance. His co star is the world famous beauty Aishwariya Rai.


please introduce market description and customer insight of Bollywood


i want to ask you this question because it's do with my school work. so i just want to know that why bollywood have became so famous through out the world??


P.S Hollywood's actor are coming to bollywood movies soon. eg: two Hollywood legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone will come together for the first time on screen in a Bollywood movie. its 100% authentic and major news channels and paper of America has confirmed it too. the movie is called kambaq ishq (incredible love) which will begin shooting in late 2008 in universal studio. Its the first time that a foreign movie been given permission to shoot there..other Hollywood A-list actors are also on the list for this movie which i am not writing as they are not confirmed.


Not only this, but bollywood has been a smash hit in countries/continent where there are no hindi/urdu speaking audience. many foreign channels show bollywood movies either in original or by dubbing in their language. It's interesting to note that even though while these channels have a choice to show international film other than bollywood they picked bollywood because it far less violent than hollywood and shows family values which everyone can relate to. In return these channels got high ratings which they didn't expected. Germany, france, italy and many other state televisions show bollywood movies once a week. It's because of this very reasoning that bollywood gain popularity and became the only competitor for Hollywood. i heard hollywood actor George Clooney said in jan 2007 that he wants to enter bollywood by doing a movie...

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