Noun. Colloquial. Late 20th century.
[Blend of Bombay and Hollywood.]
The Indian popular film industry, based in the city of Bombay (Mumbai).
Film buff? Here's a question for you: which country produces the most feature films in the world? Well, yes, it's India. Well done (although seeing as this post is called Bollywood, it was kind of obvious). Do you know the second largest producer of feature films? Ah ha! Not such a clever-clogs now, are you? It's Nigeria, for which Nollywood produces a huge amount of films. It's important to stress that we're talking about the number of films produced, rather than the revenue generated. Even though it's been relegated to a humble third position in terms of output, the North American film industry still dwarfs everyone else when it comes to hard currency, generating some $10 billion annually. In comparison, first place India turns over a comparatively paltry $1.5 billion, and second place Nigeria doesn't even make the top ten countries on a revenue table.
In terms of output, however, India is the clear leader; in 2011, it produced over 1,000 feature films and 1,500 short films. It's also exceptionally diverse, spanning the entire sub-continent and producing films in at least 16 different languages. Bollywood, specifically referring to the film industry of Mumbai and more formally called Hindi Cinema, has without a doubt been India's cinematic driving force. Bollywood films, and those of Indian cinema generally, tend to be joyous and spectacular affairs, featuring music, dance, song, romance, action and melodrama. This blending of styles and genres is fittingly called masala after the mixing of different spices in Indian cuisine. As Bollywood has grown, taking in international viewers and markets, it's adopted and fused more Western themes into its films, broadening their appeal far outside of Asia and beyond purely Asian viewers. As it does this and continues to grow, expect to see more of Indian cinema and hear more about Indian stars. In the meantime, enjoy the trailers to two of India's biggest hits in recent years: the coming-of-age comedy 3 Idiots and the action thriller Ek Tha Tiger. And don't say I didn't warn you about the melodrama ...
Are you a fan of Bollywood?
Have you ever seen any Indian films?
Do please share and leave any comments below.