Bollywood: The Indian Movie Industry

Hollywood is much more famous, but Bollywood has more viewers. Hollywood films are viewed in silence, and in Indian cinemas, they dance to the musical parts. Hollywood films are costlier, but Bollywood ones are longer. Are there real benefits of Bollywood over Hollywood? This essay tries to figure this out. Want to see more essays on various topics? Go to

Film Industry in India (Bollywood)


The Indian film industry is considered to be the largest in the world. It is called “Bollywood”, from the merger of “Hollywood” and “Bombay” (the old name of the modern city of Mumbai). About 6 million people are employed in this huge business.  Therefore, the name “Bollywood” is quite logical, especially if you consider that India has surpassed Hollywood in the film production.

The first Bollywood full-length movie was released on May 3, 1913. It was a black and white tape called “Raja Harishchandra.” The film told the story of a wise and just raja who was very honest and never lied. This film immediately became a sensation and attracted the attention of millions of viewers. The fact is that there were erotic shots in the tape.

The director showed the bathing of the raja’s wife with her maidens in the pool, and they were dressed in tight wet saris. Even for modern cinematography, such shots are considered quite piquant, and what to say about cinema more than a hundred years ago?

Here are some interesting facts about Bollywood:

  • The location of Indian film production is not only Bollywood. Bollywood films are mostly filmed in Hindi, as well as Urdu and Punjabi. In the south of the country, there are Tollywood (films in Telugu) and Kollywood (Tamil films).
  • Every day about 14 million Indians go to the cinema to watch a new picture. Since almost 40% of Indians are illiterate, cinema is the best if not to say the only source of information.
  • Watching movies in the cinema turns into a real show. During the songs, the audience in the hall stand up and start dancing. You can never witness dancing people in American cinemas!

Realism vs entertainment

Realism vs entertainment

Bollywood movies do not tend to convey realism, as it happens in Broadway and Hollywood. In American musicals, special conditions are created, when the characters begin to dance and sing according to the plot. This is a logically justified move: such musical inserts become a smooth part of the action and do not cause distrust among the viewers.

In Bollywood, they believe that musical and dance numbers perfectly express the sensitive aspect of life. Their fantasy is rich, and traditional Indian clothes only strengthen the sensitive aspect. Songs and dances show the moods and desires of the heroes.

For this reason, musical inserts are intentionally made to seem a little unreal, so that the audience does not understand everything literally, but learns to feel the main emotions and states of the characters in the films.

One of the hallmarks of Indian movies is the length of the films. 4 hours 25 minutes – this is how long the longest Indian film “LOC Kargil” lasts. This can be explained logically in several ways. First and foremost, this is due to the fact that the Indians themselves are deeply fond of long-lasting entertainment. Indian weddings can be celebrated for weeks. Cricket matches last a couple of days.

Therefore, a three-hour film for India will never seem too long. But for European and American viewers, who have a faster pace of life, this is too long a movie. Subliminally, the Hindus await a long movie for entertainment to be for the whole evening, or better for a full day. 🙂

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