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India’s Movie Industry: Bollywood & Types Of Movies In India

Photograph of the blog post author, Craig Brown

Craig Brown

23.12.2020

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At the recent Silver Screen Awards in Singapore, Indian drama film “Milestone” won the awards for best film. This shouldn’t be surprising. Because India’s movie industry, which also includes Tollywood, Kollywood, and Bollywood, continues to increase and play a major role in the global cinematic landscape. 

India’s Movie Industry

Although a lot is talked about Bollywood as the largest film industry in the world. It is in fact India’s film industry as a whole that makes it the biggest film industry in the world.

Followed by Nigeria’s Nollywood and Hollywood respectively.  

In this article, we will be exploring India’s film industry, diving into history, and going over a few iconic Indian films. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, then keep reading!

What Is Bollywood?

bollywood India's Movie Industry

The Indian filmmaking industry is known as Bollywood to the mainstream audience. But in reality, Bollywood is part of the Indian film industry.  

Bollywood is the actual name of India’s Hindi film industry. The country’s film industry contains various languages. Including Tamil (Kollywood), Telugu (Tollywood) and Hindi (Bollywood). 

In fact, Kollywood is the largest producer with over 260 films. Tollywood is in second place with over 250 films, followed by Bollywood in third place with over 220 films.

But when it comes to global box office presence, Bollywood is in the forefront with the largest numbers in respect to sales. 

Where Is Bollywood?

mumbai India's Movie Industry

Bollywood is located in The city of Mumbai. 

The Mumbai film industry was formerly the Bombay film industry before Bombay changed its name to Mumbai in 1995.  

Mumbai is considered the birthplace and namesake of “Bollywood” in India. 

The city is the richest in India and also in the top 20 richest cities in the world.

Due to the high illiteracy rate and different languages, the theater was limited to only a few.  Therefore theater never transcended to a level of mass consumption by the Indian audience.  

Film was easier to produce and consume in mass by Indian audience. As a result, film became the biggest and most popular platform in India.

The History Of India’s Movie Industry

India’s Movie Industry

Raja Harishchandra is a 1913 Indian silent film that is often considered the first full-length Indian feature film.

The story was about a righteous Indian King who never told a lie. This might be the film that opened the door to what is now known as Bollywood. 

India’s film industry started about 100 years ago. The term “Bollywood” was coined many years later. The vibrant song-and-dance routines that have become popular with millions of fans worldwide are a signature element in Bollywood films. 

Bollywood has influenced all aspects of daily life and culture in India. The film industry is the main form of entertainment and also has a cult following.

As in Hollywood, Bollywood fashion is often imitated and shows up in general day to day attire, including a big influence on wedding attire. An outfit worn by an actor or actress in a hit film can immediately influence the new style for the clothing industry in India. 

The origins of early Indian cinema song and dance routines were started by artists in Parsi theatre. Parsi style plays were a fusion of fantasy meets reality, including the signature sing and dance routine that exists to this day.  

India’s film industry including Bollywood has grown exponentially that major American studios such as 20thCentury Fox to Disney have a presence in India’s film industry.  

Bollywood’s Impact On The Film Industry

bollywood India's Movie Industry

Although Bollywood has surpassed Hollywood in respect to the number of tickets sold annually, it still trails far behind in total revenue. 

This is due mainly to the much lower prices of tickets in India.  But it is the overseas revenue why Bollywood movies are becoming much more successful of late. 

The increase and reach of India’s movie industry have had a major impact on foreign economies as well.  

According to UK’s leading British Asian web magazine, DESIblitz “Bollywood contributes about £200m annually to the British economy” due mainly in part to spending on filming in the island nation. Including ticket sales and distribution.  

In fact, foreign countries compete with each other to host Bollywood shows and movie award shows.

To further exemplify the importance of India’s movie industry, the Mumbai based Reliance group is now the parent company of DreamWorks studio. 

As a result of more funding and major American studio backing, budgets of Indian films have increased along with the number of worldwide releases.

Bollywood has had a major impact on the American movie industry also. Below are a couple of examples.  

Moulin Rouge

moulin rouge indian film industry

The Indian film industry played a major role in influencing the revival of the American musical film Moulin Rouge.

Moulin Rouge also consists of a Bollywood-style dance scene featuring a song from the India Western film, China Gate (1998). 

As a result of the film’s critical and financial success, it began a renaissance of Western musical films such as  Dreamgirls, Chicago and Rent.  

Aladdin

aladdin indian film industry

According to film director Guy Ritchie, Actor Will Smith is in love with the Indian film industry.

The director for Aladdin featuring Will Smith said Will Smith encouraged him to go full Bollywood mode for Aladdin. 

The actor also visited India on several occasions for professional and personal reasons. Will Smith said that he is quite eager to produce and work on a potential Bollywood project.

Films From India’s Movie Industry

According to Statista, the top most commercial genres in India’s film Industry is Comedy, Action, Romance, Thriller and Drama, followed by Horror and Sci Fi.

But the most popular commercial genre in Bollywood has been the Masala film genre. 

This genre freely mixes different genres such as drama, action, comedy, romance, including melodrama along with musical numbers. 

This list will highlight some of India’s most iconic films.

2.0

2.0

‘2.0’ is the most expensive Indian film to date. The film is in Tamil language and with an estimated budget of $80 million. 

The film is about the conflict between a humanoid robot and a former ornithologist. Who seeks vengeance upon cell phone users to prevent the population decline in a race known as the avians.

Indian

indian movie

A few of India’s popular and critically acclaimed movies span several genres and languages from Tamil to Hindi.

The film directed by S. Shankur was about an honest veteran who served in the Indian Army.

He decides to teach corrupt officials a lesson by targeting them. Indian went on to become one of India’s top grossing films. Including 5 awards.

Pather Panchali

pather panchali

Directed by Satyajit Ray, Pather Panchali is about the childhood of lead character Apu and his elder sister. 

Apu and his family had to survive in a harsh poverty stricken village. The film was featured on The Village Voice top 250 “Best Films of the Century.”.

It also went on to win multiple awards. Including, Kinema Junpo Award for Best Foreign Language Film in1967 (Satyajit Ray).

3 Idiots

3 idiots from indian film industry

3 Idiots released in 2009 is a coming of age comedy. The Bollywood film was quite unconventional for an Indian movie at the time. And was praised for its unique and offbeat theme. 

Directed by Rajkumar Hirani, 3 Idiots is about two friends in college and their quest to find their long-lost friend who has been elusive for quite some time.

The film went on to win 16 out of 27 awards, including best director and best film.

In spite of economic slowdowns, Indian film industry has seen a steady increase across the board. 

Indian media and entertainment industry is on track to rake in revenues of $100 billion (£62b) in 10 years’ time.

Our Final Thoughts

indian film industry

With no signs of slowing down in the near future, India’s film industry will continue to play a larger part in the global cinematic landscape. 

Movies play an integral part of everyday life in India.  Including Bollywood’s influence on Hollywood films, as it will continue to grow. 

It will keep playing a major role in also influencing more Hollywood studios and actors to incorporate the Bollywood theme in their future projects. 

The sky seems to be the limit for the India’s movie industry. 

We hope you enjoyed or overview of India’s film industry! Share your favourite Bollywood movies in the comment section below!

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