“Bollywood” is a portmanteau word combining Hollywood with Bombay (former name of Mumbai, India’s largest city) that instantly conjures up images of bright, fantastic scenery and massive dance numbers set to wonderfully catchy tunes. But if that’s all you know about Bollywood, hold on tight, because here’s what you should know.
What makes a film ‘Bollywood’?
To call all Indian films “Bollywood” is like calling all American music “Motown” — Bollywood is a genre of film, not the whole of India’s film industry. Other regions have their own type of movies, from Calcutta to Goa to Madras. Bollywood is driven by music videos and huge productions. And Bollywood knows what its audiences want and gives it to them on a platter.
How big it is?
Chances are if you’ve seen a film made in India, it’s a Bollywood production. The U.S. accounts for 25% of total Indian film revenue. In India, it’s the most popular type of movie at the box office even though fewer are made than any other genre. India produces more movies per year than Hollywood does. Bollywood-style films make up a small part of their output but by far the majority of its international export — which is why Bollywood became synonymous with India’s film industry.