Bollywood


Bollywood
/bol"ee wood'/, n.
the motion-picture industry of India, based in Bombay.

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Indian moviemaking industry that began in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s and developed into an enormous film empire.

Bombay Talkies, launched in 1934 by Himansu Rai, spearheaded the growth of Indian cinema. Throughout the years, several classic genres emerged from Bollywood: the historical epic, notably Mughal-e-azam (1960; "The Great Mughal"); the curry western, such as Sholay (1975; "The Embers"); the courtesan film, such as Pakeezah (1972; "Pure Heart"), which highlights stunning cinematography and sensual dance choreography; and the mythological movie, represented by Jai Santoshi Maa (1975; "Hail Santoshi Maa"). Star actors, rather than the films themselves, have accounted for most box-office success. Standard features of Bollywood films include formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama, and larger-than-life heroes. At the beginning of the 21st century, Bollywood produced as many as 1,000 feature films annually, and international audiences began to develop among Asians in the U.K. and the U.S.

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▪ 2000

      Formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama, and larger-than-life heroes were the hallmark ingredients of Bollywood films, which in 1999 continued to flourish in India and found a growing audience among British Asians in the U.K. as well as American Asians in the U.S. This was Bollywood, the Indian moviemaking industry that traced its roots to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s, produced as many as 1,000 feature films annually in all of India's major languages and in a variety of cities, and was often disparagingly compared to Hollywood, owing to what many perceived as Bollywood's narrow focus—making box-office smash hits. Nevertheless, the cultural inflections and narratives of Bollywood films were unique to the world of film, and the three-hour movies offered viewers time-honoured values, continuity, familiarity, and a chance to escape from everyday pressures.

      In 1934 Bombay Talkies, launched by Himansu Rai, spearheaded the growth of Indian cinema in the 1930s and '40s. By the 1990s “Bombay talkies” or “masala movies” (masala is a mix of spices) referred to the Bollywood films that featured mythology, melodrama, romance, action, suspense, and the expression of sexual feelings (no overt sex or nudity was allowed) in numerous songs (rarely recorded live) and dances, including one standard number in which the star would appear coyly from behind a pillar or a tree. Visually lush, there were also numerous costume as well as global venue changes throughout the films.

      Over the years several classic genres emerged from Bollywood: the historical epic, notably Mughal-e-Azam (1960), featuring an erotic love scene of Madhubala (the Venus of the Indian screen) and Dilip Kumar; the curry western, where, for example, Sholay (1975) was Bollywood's answer to Hollywood's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; the courtesan film such as Pakeezah (1972), highlighting stunning cinematography and sensual dance choreography; and the mythological movie, represented by Jai Santoshi Maa (1975), the mother goddess.

      It was the megastars rather than the plots that remained the driving force behind the films. Beginning in 1936, when Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani emerged as the first major star pair, and continuing with such male heartthrobs as Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Dev Anand in the 1950s and '60s, Rajesh Khanna in the '70s, Amitabh Bachchan in the '80s, and Shahrukh Khan in the '90s, the starstruck public developed an insatiable appetite for news about their screen heroes. The new generation of male idols, however, were younger (previously performers in their 40s and 50s had had starring roles) and more Westernized in their manner; though many traveled more, frequented discos, and sported girlfriends, they also adhered to traditional cultural mores. The female icons that sent fans into frenzies included Madhubala in the 1950s, Mumtaz in the '60s, Zeenat Aman in the '70s, Hema Malini in the '80s, and Madhuri Dixit and Kajol in the '90s.

      India, perhaps the only country where Hollywood films took a backseat to ones that were homegrown, found Bollywood's popularity outside India spurred by television exposure highlighting Indian cinema as well as magazines and Web sites showcasing Bollywood stars, who influenced everything from street fashion to social values. In 1998 Dil Se became the first Bollywood film to capture a spot on the U.K. cinema top 10 list.

Karen J. Sparks

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      Indian moviemaking industry that began in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s and developed into an enormous film empire.

      After early Indian experiments in silent film, in 1934 Bombay Talkies, launched by Himansu Rai, spearheaded the growth of Indian cinema. Over the years, several classic genres emerged from Bollywood: the historical epic, notably Mughal-e-Azam (1960); the curry western, such as Sholay (1975); the courtesan film, such as Pakeezah (1972), which highlights stunning cinematography and sensual dance choreography; and the mythological movie, represented by Jai Santoshi Maa (1975).

      Stars, rather than plots, were often the driving force behind the films. Beginning in 1936, when Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani emerged as the first major star pair, the Indian public developed an insatiable appetite for news about their screen heroes. This interest continued with male actors such as Raj Kapoor (Kapoor, Raj), Dilip Kumar, and Dev Anand in the 1950s and '60s, Rajesh Khanna in the '70s, Amitabh Bachchan (Bachchan, Amitabh) in the '80s, and Shahrukh Khan in the '90s. Popular female icons included Madhubala in the 1950s, Mumtaz in the '60s, Zeenat Aman in the '70s, Hema Malini in the '80s, and Madhuri Dixit and Kajol in the '90s.

      At the turn of the 21st century, Bollywood was producing as many as 1,000 feature films annually in all of India's major languages and in a variety of cities, and international audiences began to develop among South Asians in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Standard features of Bollywood films continued to be formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama, and larger-than-life heroes.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bollywood — ( hi. बॉलीवूड, ur. بالی وڈ) is the informal term popularly used for the Mumbai based Hindi language film industry in India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the Indian film industry.… …   Wikipedia

  • Bollywood — est le nom donné à l industrie cinématographique indienne basée à Mumbai (Bombay) et dont les films sont réalisés en hindî (et en ourdou). Il s agit de la composante la plus populaire du cinéma indien, le plus important au monde en nombre de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bollywood — es un gran complejo cinematográfico centrado en la ciudad de Mumbai (India). Cada año produce cerca de mil nuevos filmes, que son vistos por catorce millones de espectadores diarios. Es una de las dos grandes mecas del cine en el mundo junto con… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bollywood — film industry based in Mumbai, India, 1977, from BOMBAY (Cf. Bombay) (old name of Mumbai) + HOLLYWOOD (Cf. Hollywood) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Bollywood — ► NOUN informal ▪ the Indian popular film industry, based in Bombay. ORIGIN blend of Bombay and Hollywood …   English terms dictionary

  • Bollywood — Cine en Delhi. Mukesh Chand Mathur (comúnmente conocido como Mukesh) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bollywood — Hindi Filmproduktionen[1] Jahr Anzahl 1935 154 1945 73 1955 125 1965 98 1975 119 1985 185 1995 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bollywood — (BAW.lee.wood) n. The films or film industry of India. adj. Relating to India s films or film industry. Example Citation: A three hour Bollywood potboiler averages a half dozen songs. There is no current Hollywood equivalent, even though Baz… …   New words

  • Bollywood —   refers to the burgeoning film industry of India, the world s biggest film industry, centered in Bombay (now Mumbai); the etymology of the word: from Bo(mbay) + (Ho)llywood; unlike Hollywood, however, Bollywood is a non existent place.   Example …   Glossary of cinematic terms

  • Bollywood — Bol|ly|wood [ bɔliwʊd ; engl. Bollywood, zusgez. aus: Bombay (Stadt in Indien) u. ↑ Hollywood]: Bez. für die indische Filmindustrie …   Universal-Lexikon


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