Hindi cinema, often metonymously referred to as Bollywood, is the Indian Hindi-language film industry, based in the city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Maharashtra, India. Bollywood the term being a portmanteau of Bombay and Hollywood. Bollywood is a part of the larger cinema of India (also known as Indywood), which includes other production centers producing films in other Indian languages. Linguistically, Bollywood films tend to use a colloquial dialect of Hindi-Urdu, or Hindustani, mutually intelligible to both Hindi and Urdu speakers, while modern Bollywood films also increasingly incorporate elements of Hinglish. Indian cinema is the world's largest film industry in terms of film production, with an annual output of 1,986 feature films as of 2017, and Bollywood is its largest film producer, with 364 Hindi films produced annually as of 2017. Bollywood represents 43% of Indian net box office revenue, while Telugu and Tamil cinema represent 36%, and the rest of the regional cinema constitute 21%, as of 2014. Bollywood is thus one of the largest centers of film production in the world. In terms of ticket sales, Bollywood sells an estimated 3.6 billion tickets annually across the globe, compared to Hollywood's 2.6 billion tickets sold.
The name "Bollywood" is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood (in California), the center of the American film industry. The naming scheme for "Bollywood" was inspired by "Tollywood", the name that was used to refer to the cinema of West Bengal. Dating back to 1932, "Tollywood" was the earliest Hollywood-inspired name, referring to the Bengali film industry based in Tollygunge (in Calcutta, West Bengal), whose name is reminiscent of "Hollywood" and was the centre of the cinema of India at the time. It was this "chance juxtaposition of two pairs of rhyming syllables," Holly and Tolly, that led to the portmanteau name "Tollywood" being coined. The name "Tollywood" went on to be used as a nickname for the Bengali film industry by the popular Calcutta-based Junior Statesman youth magazine, establishing a precedent for other film industries to use similar-sounding names, eventually leading to the coining of "Bollywood". "Tollywood" is now also popularly used to refer to the Telugu film industry in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The term "Bollywood" itself has origins in the 1970s, when India overtook the United States as the world's largest film producer. Credit for the term has been claimed by several different people, including the lyricist, filmmaker and scholar Amit Khanna, and the journalist Bevinda Collaco. Bollywood does not exist as a physical place. Some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood.
History of BollywoodEdit
Raja Harishchandra (1913), by Dadasaheb Phalke, is known as the first silent feature film made in India. By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films per annum. The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani's Alam Ara (1931), was a major commercial success. There was clearly a huge market for talkies and musicals; Bollywood and all the regional film industries quickly switched to sound filming.
The 1930s and 1940s were tumultuous times: India was buffeted by the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian independence movement, and the violence of the Partition. Most Bollywood films were unabashedly escapist, but there were also a number of filmmakers who tackled tough social issues, or used the struggle for Indian independence as a backdrop for their plots.
In 1937, Ardeshir Irani, of Alam Ara fame, made the first colour film in Hindi, Kisan Kanya. The next year, he made another colour film, a version of Mother India. However, colour did not become a popular feature until the late 1950s. At this time, lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were the staple fare at the cinema.
Prior to the 1947 partition of India, which was divided into the Republic of India and Pakistan, the Bombay film industry (now called Bollywood) was closely to the Lahore film industry (now the Lollywood industry of Pakistani cinema), as both produced films in Hindi-Urdu, or Hindustani, the lingua franca across northern and central India. In the 1940s, many actors, filmmakers and musicians in the Lahore industry migrated to the Bombay industry, including actors such as K.L. Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand and singers such as Mohammed Rafi, Noorjahan and Shamshad Begum. Around that time, filmmakers and actors from the Bengali film industry based in Calcutta (now Kolkata) also began migrating to the Bombay film industry, which for decades after partition would be dominated by actors, filmmakers and musicians with origins in what is today Pakistani Punjab, along with those from Bengal.
Golden Age (late 1940s–1960s) Following India's independence, the period from the late 1940s to the early 1960s is regarded by film historians as the "Golden Age" of Hindi cinema. Some of the most critically acclaimed Hindi films of all time were produced during this period. Examples include Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) directed by Guru Dutt and written by Abrar Alvi, Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955) directed by Raj Kapoor and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and Aan (1952) directed by Mehboob Khan and starring Dilip Kumar. These films expressed social themes mainly dealing with working-class life in India, particularly urban life in the former two examples; Awaara presented the city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city life.
Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957), a remake of his earlier Aurat (1940), was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, which it lost by a single vote. Mother India was also an important film that defined the conventions of Hindi cinema for decades. It spawned a new genre of dacoit films, which was further defined by Gunga Jumna (1961). Written and produced by Dilip Kumar, Gunga Jumna was a dacoit crime drama about two brothers on opposite sides of the law, a theme that later became common in Indian films since the 1970s. Madhumati (1958), directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, popularised the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture. Some of the most famous epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at the time, such as K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Other acclaimed mainstream Hindi filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt. Successful actors at the time included Dilip Kumar, Pradeep Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, and Guru Dutt, while successful actresses included Sumitra Devi, Nargis, Suraiya, Vyjayanthimala, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Madhubala, Sadhana, Waheeda Rehman and Mala Sinha. The three most popular male Indian actors of the 1950s and 1960s were Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and Dev Anand, each with their own unique acting style. Kapoor followed the "tramp" style of Charlie Chaplin, Anand modelled himself after the "suave" style of Hollywood movie stars like Gregory Peck and Cary Grant, and Kumar pioneered a form of method acting that was similar to yet predated Hollywood method actors such as Marlon Brando. Kumar, who was described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray and is considered one of India's greatest actors, inspired future generations of Indian actors; much like Brando's influence on Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, Kumar had a similar influence on later Indian actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah, Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
While commercial Hindi cinema was thriving, the 1950s also saw the emergence of a new Parallel Cinema movement. Though the movement was mainly led by Bengali cinema, it also began gaining prominence in Hindi cinema. The movement emphasized social realism. Early examples of films in this movement include Dharti Ke Lal (1946) directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and based on the Bengal famine of 1943, Neecha Nagar (1946) directed by Chetan Anand and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zamin (1953). Their critical acclaim, as well as the latter's commercial success, paved the way for Indian neorealism and the Indian New Wave. Some of the internationally acclaimed Hindi filmmakers involved in the movement included Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and Vijaya Mehta. Ever since the social realist film Neecha Nagar won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival, Hindi films were frequently in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, with some of them winning major prizes at the festival. Guru Dutt, while overlooked in his own lifetime, had belatedly generated international recognition much later in the 1980s. Dutt is now regarded as one of the greatest Asian filmmakers of all time, alongside the more famous Indian Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The 2002 Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll of greatest filmmakers ranked Dutt at No. 73 on the list. Some of his films are now included among the greatest films of all time, with Pyaasa (1957) being featured in Time magazine's "All-TIME" 100 best movies list, and with both Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) tied at No. 160 in the 2002 Sight & Sound critics' and directors' poll of all-time greatest films. Several other Hindi films from this era were also ranked in the Sight & Sound poll, including Raj Kapoor's Awaara (1951), Vijay Bhatt's Baiju Bawra (1952), Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957) and K. Asif's Mughal-e-Azam (1960) all tied at No. 346 on the list.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the industry was dominated by musical romance films with "romantic hero" leads, the most popular being Rajesh Khanna. Other actors during this period include Shammi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, and Shashi Kapoor, and actresses like Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz, Saira Banu, and Asha Parekh.
By the start of the 1970s, Hindi cinema was experiencing thematic stagnation, dominated by musical romance films. The arrival of screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, consisting of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, marked a paradigm shift, revitalizing the industry. They began the genre of gritty, violent, Bombay underworld crime films in the early 1970s, with films such as Zanjeer (1973) and Deewaar (1975). They reinterpreted the rural themes of Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957) and Dilip Kumar's Gunga Jumna (1961) in a contemporary urban context reflecting the socio-economic and socio-political climate of 1970s India, channeling the growing discontent and disillusionment among the masses, and unprecedented growth of slums, and dealing with themes involving urban poverty, corruption, and crime, as well as anti-establishment themes. This resulted in their creation of the "angry young man", personified by Amitabh Bachchan, who reinterpreted Dilip Kumar's performance in Gunga Jumna in a contemporary urban context, and giving a voice to the angst of the urban poor. By the mid-1970s, romantic confections had made way for gritty, violent crime films and action films about gangsters (Bombay underworld) and bandits (dacoits). The writing of Salim-Javed and acting of Amitabh Bachchan popularized the trend, with films such as Zanjeer and particularly Deewaar, a crime film inspired by Gunga Jumna that pitted "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan" portrayed by Bachchan; Deewaar was described as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema" by Danny Boyle. Along with Bachchan, other actors that rode the crest of this trend include Feroz Khan, Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol, which lasted into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Raakhee, Shabana Azmi, Zeenat Aman, Parveen Babi, Rekha, Dimple Kapadia, Smita Patil, Jaya Prada and Padmini Kolhapure.
The 1970s was also when the name "Bollywood" was coined, and when the quintessential conventions of commercial Bollywood films were established. Key to this was the emergence of the masala film genre, which combines elements of multiple genres (action, comedy, romance, drama, melodrama, musical). The masala film was pioneered in the early 1970s by filmmaker Nasir Hussain, along with screenwriter duo Salim-Javed, pioneering the Bollywood blockbuster format. Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), directed by Hussain and written by Salim-Javed, has been identified as the first masala film and the "first" quintessentially "Bollywood" film. Salim-Javed went on to write more successful masala films in the 1970s and 1980s. Masala films launched Amitabh Bachchan into the biggest Bollywood movie star of the 1970s and 1980s. A landmark for the masala film genre was Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), directed by Manmohan Desai and written by Kader Khan. Manmohan Desai went on to successfully exploit the genre in the 1970s and 1980s.
Both these trends, the masala film and the violent crime film, are represented by the blockbuster Sholay (1975), written by Salim-Javed and starring Amitabh Bachchan. It combined the dacoit film conventions of Mother India and Gunga Jumna with that of Spaghetti Westerns, spawning the Dacoit Western genre (also known as the "Curry Western"), which was popular in the 1970s.
Some Hindi filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic Parallel Cinema throughout the 1970s, alongside Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta. However, the 'art film' bent of the Film Finance Corporation came under criticism during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema. The 1970s thus saw the rise of commercial cinema in the form of enduring films such as Sholay (1975), which consolidated Amitabh Bachchan's position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released in 1975.
The most internationally acclaimed Hindi film of the 1980s was Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay! (1988), which won the Camera d'Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.