Bollywood – The Mecca of the cinema



When we talk about cinema the first thing that comes to mind is Hollywood. There is however another place that is No 1 worldwide in regards to the film industry. India surpasses every other country and the statistics proves it. In 2017 for example 1986 films have been produced in the country, and the biggest part was done by Bollywood – one of the largest film production centers in the world. An industry, making films in Hindi language, based in Mumbai.

If you travel to India you can get closer to this industry. You can take advantage of the attraction tours of Bollywood, which attract thousands of movie fans every year. There is definetly a lot to see there. Even though the name Bollywood appears in the 70s of the 20th century, as a combination of Bombay (Mumbai’s former name) and Hollywood, the Indian cinema has more than 100 years of history.

The Lumière brothers introduced the art of cinema in colonial India in 1896 and naturally the first Indian city where short films were projected was Bombay. And so in a natural way Bombay became the center of the Indian Hindi cinematography.

The first film, entirely produced in India appeared in 1913, when the country was still a colony in the British Empire. The tape is called „Raja Harishchandra”, it is a silent B&W film. It is 40 minutes long, and the budget was the absurdly sounding today $10 000. It managed to realise almost 5 times more income – $47 000, which was a significant success. In the next five years the tape was followed by the production of more than 20 films, and by 1930 they reached 200.

The first Indian sound film “Alam Ara” was released in 1931. It had a budget of close to 6 million dollars and managed to win 43 million! In 1937 came the realse of “Kisan Kanya” – the debut color Indian film, which finally put India on the world cinema map.

Between the 40’s and the 60’s of the 20th century, the Indian cinema thrives to impressive sizes, as the reason for this is the Indian fight for independence. In 1946 the film „Neecha Nagar“ won the great Palme d’Or award at the Cannes festival. This period is known as the Golden Era for the Indian visual art. The success continues after that too.

The typical Bollywood genre – the Masala films – appear in the 70’s. This is a mixed film genre, which contains action, comedy, love story, melodrama and reminds a lot about musicals. In 1983 Bhanu Athaiya became the first Indian woman to receive an Oscar for best costume designer for the film “Gandhi” by Richard Attenborough. The well known film director Baz Luhrmann says that his musical hit from 2001 Moulin Rouge! was influenced by the Bollywood musicals.

All of this made Indians literally fall in love with movies and idolize them. Every day close to 14 million people go to the cinema, and naturally the local films are significantly respected. Bollywood’s incomes are two times larger than those of Hollywood for the inner market, which is really impressive. By the way, if you travel to India, you can enjoy the local films without a problem because the average price for a cinema ticket in the country is 70 cents.

The power that the cinema has on Indians is so significant that in 2017 even the government used it. The story is very interesting and in the basis of it is… the toilet. There is an understanding among the Indians that there is no sense and no use in having such premises inside the house. They even think that it is indecent and that the natural needs should be satisfied outside. We should note though that there are 1 billion people living in India. Here is why, in order to improve the hygiene in the country, the government invested state money in the construction of 25 million toilets. The persistent Indians however massively refused to use the new acquisition as intended. That is when Bollywood came to the help of the government. The most productive film company in the world produced a new hit – “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”. The story is about a modern daughter-in-law who arrives at a rich Indian family. She is terrified by the lack of a toilet in her husband’s huge palace. The lovers go through many obstacles until at the end they manage to convince the whole family that the toilet is meaningful. The film with a bidget of $2,5 million made 20 times more income, and the authors expect the propaganda to have an unbelievable effect on the population.

Surely Indians’ love for the cinema can be felt best if you get a visa to India and you go to the cinema along with the locals. And then you can even meet one of the glamorous Bollywood stars, who by the way earn amazing money, reaching up to $8 million per film. The popular Bollywood stars are among the most loved celebrities in the country. And the industry’s production is significantly distinguished with its unique style – melodramatic, ornate and colorful. It is worth to get closer to it when you travel to India.