We all know that Hollywood is out of story ideas and is adopting scripts from Asian film hits. For those who may not be well-versed in the international film circuit, the closest encounter they may have had with Bollywood pictures are Hollywood knock-offs such as "The Guru" and the yet to be released "The Love Guru," both movies tampering with Indian culture with less than flattering representations. But what most people do not know is that Bollywood is a burgeoning film industry with a reputation of producing an impressive number of 1000 feature films a year.
No, Bollywood is not what you'd expect it to be, as its name suggests. Perhaps the common thing between Hollywood and Bollywood is that they're both the entertainment capitals of nations that have a huge movie-loving crowd. There is no Beverly Hills counterpart in India or a mountain which displays big, white letters that spell 'BOLLYWOOD' to mark the country's entertainment center. Instead, 'Bollywood' is a portmanteau word derived form 'Bombay' and 'Hollywood' which is used to refer to India's movie industry.
India started making films in 1913 (the first being "Raja Harishchandra" a full-length silent feature film) and by three more decades, 200 Bollywood pictures were being produced in a year!
As known by those who enjoy international film sampling once in a while, Bollywood pictures are mostly musicals. It is also known to Bollywood audiences that a film's success greatly depends on the quality of the musical numbers they present. This means elaborate costumes, a lot of singing, and meticulously choreographed dances.
From the traditional musicals, Bollywood has also produced pictures more suited to the taste of an international audience. In 2002, 'Devdas,' which stars Aishwarya Rai, made a great impact at the Cannes Film Festival, causing audiences to take a closer look at Indian cinema. Not long after, Ronnie Screwvala, a prominent Bollywood producer, took Jhumpa Lahiri's award-winning novel, 'The Namesake' into a full-length motion picture. The movie was a commercial success, providing more opportunities for Bollywood movies to have a wider circulation outside of India.
All in all, Bollywood's growth is undeniable. Stars such as Aishwarya Rai have now started crossing over, gaining popularity in the western world. She has started being seen in popular television shows such as Bollywikia 60 Minutes and even the ever popular Oprah Winfrey Show.
The scripts of Bollywood films are commonly in ordinary Hindi or Hindustani which are also spoken by most of the population. However, a number of movies have also used regional languages or dialects depending on the local color of the film setting. Current mainstream Bollywood films also make great use of English. A lot of films have several lines of English incorporated in the script. There is also growing number of Bollywood pictures that are made entirely in English. This is another sign of Bollywood reaching out into the global market.