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What is Bollywood?

Bollywood is the heart of India's film industry, renowned for its vibrant music, colorful dance sequences, and powerful storytelling. Originating in Mumbai, it's a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. With its unique blend of entertainment, Bollywood movies offer an escape into a world of emotion and drama. Curious to explore the magic of Bollywood? Join us on this cinematic journey.
Brendan McGuigan
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.

More Tickets Sold than Hollywood

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bollywood and where is it located?

Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. It is one of the largest centers of film production in the world and an important part of Indian culture, with a global audience. Bollywood is known for its vibrant music, dance sequences, melodrama, and larger-than-life stories.

How did Bollywood get its name?

The name 'Bollywood' is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the center of the American film industry. Although Bollywood films are distinctly Indian in style and content, the term was coined to reflect Mumbai's status as the hub of the film industry in India, similar to Hollywood's role in American cinema.

What distinguishes Bollywood movies from other films?

Bollywood movies are distinguished by their characteristic song and dance routines, dramatic storylines, colorful costumes, and a unique blend of various genres in a single film. They often feature romantic, action, comedy, and drama elements all at once, catering to a wide audience. Bollywood productions are also known for their lengthy run times, typically around three hours, including an intermission.

How significant is Bollywood in the global film industry?

Bollywood is a major player in the global film industry, producing around 1,000 films annually, which is significantly more than Hollywood's output. According to a report by Statista, Bollywood's total revenue was expected to reach approximately $2.89 billion by 2021. The industry has a vast international following, with a growing presence at international film festivals and a substantial market overseas.

Can international audiences enjoy Bollywood films?

Yes, international audiences can enjoy Bollywood films, as many are released with English subtitles and have universal themes that resonate across cultures. The global appeal of Bollywood's music, dance, and storytelling has led to a rise in popularity worldwide, with a dedicated fan base in countries like Russia, China, and the Middle East, as well as among the Indian diaspora in Europe, North America, and Australia.

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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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    • Bombay, the former name of Mumbai, gives Bollywood part of its name.
      By: arevhamb
      Bombay, the former name of Mumbai, gives Bollywood part of its name.
    • Bollywood is a popular name for the film industry in India.
      By: Tupungato
      Bollywood is a popular name for the film industry in India.
    • Bollywood movies are wildly popular in the Middle East.
      By: Ruslan Olinchuk
      Bollywood movies are wildly popular in the Middle East.