What Is Bollywod, India?

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Most countries have their own film industry similar to Hollywood, USA. In India, Bollywood is the cinematic center. It is a blend of music and acting, dancing and action – thrown against a world with one of the biggest diversities.

Why Is the Indian Film Industry Known as Bollywood?

The name Bollywood is derived from the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) in India.  The name “Bollywood” was coined in the 1970s but is now used in reference to the Hindi film industry. It is the largest film industry in India and the world in terms of films produced and released every year.

However, much credit has been given to Dadasaheb Phalke who created a cinema in 1932. Some historians even consider him the founder of India’s movie industry.

Global audiences and markets soon became aware of the Indian film industry. In 1927, the British government, in order to promote the market for British films in India at the expense of American films, formed the Commission of Inquiry into Indian Cinema.

The Role of Music in Bollywood Films

The first soundtrack film, “Ara’s World,” included seven songs. The 1932 film “Indra Sabha” had 69 songs. Bollywood movies are not just about the story. Music is the heart of Hindi films. Thus, the lyrics and choreography are carefully synchronized. Songs have given Bollywood films a distinctive outlook compared to international films.


What Is the Dance Style in Bollywood?
India has more than 500 years of dance history that has shaped a hybrid Bollywood dance style that includes its original forms. It is now a combination of different dance styles. It includes Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Bhangra, Jazz, Hip Hop, Arabic, and Western dance to name a few. Classical Indian dance consists of two basic elements: dance and expression.


Three of the most vibrant and colorful forms of Indian dance are:

  • Classic
  • Bhangra
  • Garba (originating in Gujarat, India).

They have merged with other dance forms from around the world and are now a popular Bollywood dance.

Classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam and Kathak have dominated earlier dances in Bollywood films. Since the 1980s, India’s film industry dance style has been influenced by Western dance styles.

Bollywood dance style includes head, neck, and body movements, mudras, and footwork. There are about 108 mudras. Mudras with full-body movements give full meaning to Bollywood dance style.

Sometimes part of the film’s story is told in the dance which is usually performed in colorful costumes with props. All done without losing the Classical facial expressions, hand gestures (using mudras), and body postures and movements. This brings the story to life.

Bhangra is a vibrant dance originating from Punjab. Bhangra music involves lively facial expressions, arms raised high, and high jumps danced to the beat of the dhol. (also known as the Indian drum).

Fun Fact: Farmers used to make bhangra during harvest which made their work enjoyable. Bhangra was initially performed by men (strange, isn’t it?) but as it was modernized, women also joined in.



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