India’s Film Industry One Hundred Years Old
Bollywood, India’s $2 billion film industry with its centre in Bombay, today’s Mumbai, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. “Bombay Talkies” commemorates this event and shows four short stories about Indians’ love for the cinema, created by the country’s big filmmakers. Exhibitions in many Indian cities are also showing a wide spectrum of past and present films made by Bollywood.
The roots of the India’s film industry go back to 1913 when Raja Harischandra, the first silent film, was produced. It is based on a popular folk tale, the story of an ancient Indian king who loses his country and family.
In the last few decades Bollywood films have become widely popular, not only in India, but in other countries as well. In Europe, Indian film stars are becoming better known. While Bollywood is famous for its luxurious, colorful romances it has begun to produce more serious films as well.
Bollywood produces more films annually than the US motion picture industry. About 1,000 movies are made and over three billion tickets sold every year. This year Indian movies are to be honored at the Cannes Film festival.
Dancing and singing in a Bollywood film
Bollywood films appeal especially to people all over Asia because they represent the Eastern way of life and want to protect people from Western values. However, as Asian societies are becoming more influenced by the west, so is Asian culture.
The successful recipe for Bollywood’s films is simple. Plots are never complicated, easy to understand and most of the time there are happy endings. A happy mood prevails throughout the films. Dancing and singing are essential elements that make films almost musical-like. Recently, however, more and more Bollywood films have escaped this cliché. Young directors base their stories on city life and Indian middle classes.
They claim that old-fashioned Bollywood films fail to meet the demands of India’s growing middle classes. Urban cineastes want to see a different kind of cinema, movies about social problems, in which not everything is solved and has a happy end.
A major success came in 2009 when “Slum Dog Millionaire”, made by a British director Danny Boyle won an Oscar for the best motion picture. Although Boyle claims it is not a Bollywood movie, Slumdog Millionaire captures the atmosphere of Mumbai and has contributed a lot to the popularity of Indian films.
The Indian government is doing a lot to protect the country’s film industry. It has also passed laws to encourage big American film studios to invest in Bollywood and inject more capital into an ever-growing business.
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