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In which country Bollywood is famous?

Bollywood is the informal term used to refer to the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai, India. Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in India and one of the largest centers of film production in the world. Bollywood films have a huge following not just in India but across the world, especially in other South Asian countries and regions with significant Indian diaspora populations.

Origins of Bollywood

The origins of Bollywood can be traced back to the early 20th century when Indian cinema first began under colonial rule. The first silent film Raja Harishchandra was made in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke. In the 1930s, the first Indian talkies or films with sound were made, starting with Alam Ara in 1931. The 1930s and 1940s are considered the Golden Age of Indian cinema with classics like Mother India and Mughal-e-Azam. After independence in 1947, the Indian film industry shifted its base from Lahore (now in Pakistan) to Bombay (now Mumbai) giving rise to “Bollywood”.

The term “Bollywood” is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood. It was first used in the 1970s when the Indian government allowed color films and Western musicals and dance elements started being incorporated into Indian films catering to overseas audiences. Over the decades, Bollywood films evolved from melodramas to incorporate action, comedy, romance, music and dance into mainstream masala entertainers.

Popularity of Bollywood Films

Bollywood produces over 1,500 films every year, much higher than Hollywood’s 300-400 films per year. Bollywood films are popular not just in India but also in neighboring South Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka as well as diaspora populations in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Middle East and beyond. Bollywood contributes around $2.1 billion to India’s GDP and provides employment to millions of people.

Some of the reasons for Bollywood’s popularity are:

  • Mass appeal storylines and escapist nature of the films
  • Spectacular musical numbers and dances
  • Stunning visuals, exotic filming locations and costumes
  • Dramatic storytelling and elaborate plots
  • Appeal of glamour and star power with huge fan followings for actors and actresses

Bollywood films are watched not just by Indians but also foreign audiences who enjoy the colorful cinematic experience with popcorn. The global reach can be seen from the overseas box office collections from markets like North America, UK, Middle East, Australia, New Zealand etc. Several Hollywood studios are partnering with Indian companies to co-produce Bollywood films.

Characteristics of Bollywood Films

Here are some of the main characteristics of mainstream commercial Bollywood films:

  • Elaborate musical numbers and dance sequences
  • Melodramatic acting and storytelling
  • Fantastical plots and action sequences
  • Lavish productions sets and costumes
  • Lengthy films with intermission
  • Use of playbacks for songs
  • Masala entertainers with romance, comedy, drama and action
  • Influences from folk theater and Indian epics

The hero and heroine often feature in romantic storylines, supported by a side cast which includes villains, comedians, parents, siblings. Many Bollywood films tend to glorify the family unit. The films typically have happy or tragic endings but good triumphs over evil.

Global Influence of Bollywood

Bollywood has expanded beyond India to gain worldwide popularity. Some examples of Bollywood’s global influence include:

  • Bollywood dance and music videos are popular on YouTube with billions of views
  • Dance academies teaching Bollywood dance exist all over the world including US, Canada, UK, Australia etc.
  • Bollywood-themed flash mobs are organized in many western cities
  • Songs and scores are sampled in music produced by Pitbull, Black Eyed Peas, Ashanti, Coldplay etc.
  • Western artists like Snoop Dogg, Akon, Lady Gaga have appeared in Bollywood film songs
  • Global Bollywood awards functions held in US, UK, Middle East to cater to overseas audience

Bollywood has also influenced film industries in other South Asian countries like Pakistan (Lollywood) and Bangladesh (Dhallywood).


To summarize, Bollywood refers to the Hindi language film industry in Mumbai which produces the largest number of films globally. Bollywood films have a unique identity with song-and-dance routines, dramatic storytelling, colorful costumes and lavish production values. Rooted in Indian culture, Bollywood enjoys immense popularity not just domestically but also internationally in regions with large Indian diasporas as well as foreign audiences. Bollywood’s global influence can be seen in the growing mainstream popularity of Bollywood music, dance, and fashion across the world.