Have you ever watched a musical? You’ve probably seen plenty of movies with music, songs, and dancing.
But have you ever seen a Bollywood movie? Let’s visit this fun cinematic style!
Way back when movies were in black and white and had no sound, several producers around the world were experimenting with fun new equipment to create silent films.
Silent film camera and reel with Antoine Lumiere
The Lumiere brothers introduced their cinematograph to people hungry for entertainment.
The brothers worked in photography with their father in France and designed a machine that would allow moving pictures to be shown in large places.
Plenty of countries used the new technology to produce awesome films the people loved.
India was no exception. In the late 1800s in Calcutta, a gentleman filmed some actors while they were performing on stage. Another film presentation showed a sports event.
They were both huge hits!
Within a few years, filmmakers added sound to their pictures to make “talkies” and the movie industry was born.
In the United States, Hollywood had become famous for its people with unique filmmaking talents. The same thing was happening in India. At the time, it was called Bombay Cinema.
A journalist writing a story about India’s movie industry took the name Hollywood and changed the first letter to B for the city of Bombay (now Mumbai) where some of the movies were created.
This blending of parts of words is called a portmanteau.
Even that word is a portmanteau!
In French, it means carry (porter) and coat (manteau) and describes a suitcase made to carry…well, coats and everything else!
Anyway, that’s how the name “Bollywood” originated.
The important feature of Bollywood movies is the speaking parts are usually done in Hindi or Urdu, two languages of India, although some of the newer films include English dialog.
The earliest movies were mostly about the history and mythology of early India.
That all changed in the 1950s and 1960s when film producers began to incorporate social and economic themes to make a statement.
Plenty of movie producers just wanted people to have fun and forget their troubles for a while. And a long while it was! Indian movies can last more than 3 hours!
During that time, movie-goers immerse themselves in the world created by the film director and actors.
Another common ingredient in the films is…music!
Movie-goers really like their music, and the music is a very important part of Bollywood films.
Often, the songs are released on the radio so people will get excited to hear them when the movie comes out!
The songs are performed as part of the background music and the actors lip sync the words while they dance in choreographed movements.
How exciting! No wonder people love Bollywood movies so much.
The movies are full of action and drama, music and dancing, comedy and romance…and sometimes all of these at the same time.
This blending of different movie styles is called masala, which means spice.
If you’re enjoying the eat2explore box from the United Kingdom, you will be making a recipe called Chicken Masala inspired by Indian cuisine, and we include the spice!
Another interesting fact about Bollywood movies is the impact they’ve had on other filmmakers around the world. Even Hollywood movies have been impacted by the Bollywood style.
Not all Bollywood movies are kid-friendly, but you can still find awesome movies to watch as a family with a quick search.
The movies are entertaining, for sure, but they also introduce important life lessons taught in a fun way.
Turn on the subtitles if necessary and enjoy while you discover the culture and cuisine of India in our eat2explore India box.