Bollywood is the sobriquet for the Hindi language film industry based in Mumbai, India. It is more formally referred to as Hindi cinema. The term "Bollywood" is often used by non-Indians as a synecdoche to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; however, Bollywood proper is only a part of the larger Indian film industry, which includes other production centres producing films in many other Indian languages.



The history of Bollywood, also referred to as the Indian film industry, dates back as far as the 1930s.

Bollywood, which is the Hindu language film industry that is based in Mumbai, is part of the overall Indian film industry, which is comprised of many other production centers that produces films in multiple languages. Not only is Bollywood one of the largest film producers within India, but it is also one of the largest film production centers worldwide.

Once referred to as the Hindi cinema, Bollywood films has what is called an Indian - English dialogue, also known as Hinglish.

The word Bollywood was taken from the word Bombay (the previous name for Mumbai) and the word Hollywood, which is the core location of the American film and recording industry. Unlike Bollywood, Hollywood is a physical place, located right outside of Los Angeles, California. Also referred to as the home of the entertainment industry, Hollywood consists of a host of entertainment related companies, including motion picture studios, recording studios, film schools, the homes of the rich and famous, the Hollywood walk of fame, entertainment related venues and more. The name Bollywood sounds like a poor, distant cousin in comparison to the name Hollywood - although Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world.

Additionally, The name Bollywood was actually inspired by the name Tollywood, which used to be referred to as the cinema of West Bengal. Dated as far back at 1932, Tollywood was the earliest known name directly inspired by the name Hollywood. The name Tollywood actually refers to the Bengali film industry, which is based in Tollygunge, Calcutta. It was Tollygunge, Calcutta that was actually suggestive of Hollywood. It was the pairing of the two rhyming syllables Holly and Tolly that resulted in the name Tollywood. Eventually, Tollywood became the nickname for the Bingali film industry and soon after, other companies within the Indian film industry began to use similar sounding names, ultimately leading to the name Bollywood.

Since then Tollywood is now referred to as the Telugu film industry in Andhra Pradesh. Now, the word Bollywood, which has origins that initiated in the 70s, at the time when the Indian film industry surpassed the American film industry, has become the largest film producer in the world.

Additionally when some of the first Indian films were produced, they were produced as silent feature films. Then in 1931, the first Indian film was produced with sound and became an enormous success. It then became obvious that producing films with sound would be the way to go moving forward.

In the 1940s through the 1960s, Bollywood experienced the Golden age period, where some of the most critically acclaimed films were produced. That period was followed by the Modern Cinema period, when action films and romance movies were produced. By the 2000s, Bollywood continued to grow. It became popular throughout the world and increased in its overall quality by using more innovative storylines, animation and special effects in its films.


Bollywood has been known for producing some of the most glamorous and well sought after actresses of all times. The Bollywood actresses are not only beautiful and classy, but they are admired by people all over the world as they have been for decades.

Bollywood is responsible for launching the careers and providing fame and stardom to approximately 1000 actresses or what the Indian film market refers to as Heroines.

Unfortunately, looks and beauty supersedes acting skills and talent in the Indian film industry. It is much easier to spot an Indian beauty in an Indian feature film than it is to spot a talented actress.

For some of the Indian actresses, unfortunately their careers are short lived. As long as they maintain their youth and their beauty it is highly probable that they will maintain their careers in the lime light. But once they become older and / or get married they began to lose their popularity and become a distant memory to many fans throughout India.

Spanning over the past 100 years the following are a list of 5 of the 100 most popular Indian actresses according to Film School WTF and IMDb.

Huma Qureshi is a Hindi cinema Indian actress who performed as a theatre actress and model prior beginning her film career. She starred in several theatrical productions and later appeared in television commercial and films.

She appeared in Gangs of Wasseypur (2012), D-Day (2013), Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (2012), Ek Thi Daayan (2013) and more.

Her film nominations include the following:

  • Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut (2013)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress (2013)
  • Star Guild Award for Best Female Debut (2013)
  • Zee Cine Award for Best Female Debut(2013)
  • Zee Cine Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (2014)
  • IIFA Award for Best Actress (2013)

Archana Puran Singh is an Indian film actress, personality and television presenter, most known for her comedy roles in some of Bollywood’s famous movies. She also appeared as a judge on shows such as Sony TV India's Comedy Circus. She played in comic roles of Miss Briganza in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Preeto in Mohabbatein and lately Zohra in Bol Bachchan. She has been judging the television reality comedy show, Comedy Circus since 2006 and is the only judge to have appeared in all episodes of the show.

She has been nominated for the following awards:

  • Awards: ITA Award for Best Actress - Comedy (2001)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role (1999)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress (1997)

Divya Dutta is a model and an Indian film actress. She has appeared in Bollywood and Punjabi cinema, Malayalam and English films. She has been noted for playing a variety of roles in different film genres and is known as one of the leading actresses of parallel cinema.

She appeared in the following movies and TV shows: Bhaag Milkha Bh (2013), Gippi (2013), Special 26 (2013), Ragini MMS 2 (2014) Heroine (2012)

She received the following awards:

  • IIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress (2014)
  • Zee Cine Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role (2014)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress (2014)
  • Indian Telly Award for Best Actress in a Comic Role (2006)
  • Star Guild Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series (2006)

Konkona Sen Sharma is not only an Indian actress, but she is the daughter of filmmaker and actress Aparna Sen. Sharma primarily performs in independent films and Indian art house. She is referred to as one of the leading actresses of contemporary parallel cinema.

She has appeared in Movies such as Ek Thi Daayan (2013), Wake Up Sid (2009), Aaja Nachle (2007), (Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002), Laaga Chunari (2007)

Hema Malini is not only an Indian actress, but she is a film director and producer, Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer as well as a politician. She is very well known for her Hindi cinema roles. She later appeared in a variety of Bollywood films with actor and future-husband Dharmendra as well as with Rejesh Khanna. She starred in Dream Girl in 1977 and is recognized for her dramatic and comic roles and her accomplished classical dancing.

She played in the following movies, Sholay (1975), Tell Me O Kkhuda Baghban (2003), Hey Ram (2000) Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968)

Some of her awards include the following:

  • Filmfare Award for Best Actress (1973)
  • Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)
  • Padma Shri (2000)
  • Zee Cine Award for Lifetime Achievement (2003)
  • ANR National Award (2011)
  • Screen Award for Jodi No. 1 (2003)
  • Bollywood Movie Award – Lifetime Achievement Award (2003)

The conservative actresses appeared in roles wearing lehngra and kurti, while modern actresses appeared in shorts skirts or bikinis – all known for their roles in a variety of films.


Over the past 100 years Bollywood's Indian film industry has established the careers of some of the most talented and finest actors in the industry. Some of Bollywood's most popular actors have been embraced and have experienced universal acceptance on a world-wide basis, while other actors have gotten critically acclaimed praise for their roles in some of Hollywood's feature films on the big screen.

Some of the actors that appear in both Bollywood and Hollywood's feature films, have been known to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars within a short period of time and have become God's to many of their fans - primarily due to them being incredibly handsome, their statue like physique and their height.

Known for their individual, unique style of acting, many of the actors have become popular because of their own unique and distinguished acting style. Some of them are obviously more seasoned than others. Below is a list of the top 5 of the 100 greatest Bollywood actors of all times according to film school WTF and IMDb.

Manoj Tuli, also known as Kumar Gaurav is the son of the late actor Rajendra Kumar as well as an Indian film actor. He has appeared in several films including: Love Story, Teri Kasam, Naam, Indrajeet and Kaante. He also appeared in Love Story (1981), Naam (1986), Kaante (2002), Phool (1993), Janam (1985)

He was nominated for Filmfare Award for Best Actor (1986)

Suriya, is television presenter, a film producer and an Indian film actor. He is currently working in the Tamil film industry and has appeared in 29 films in a variety of genres as the lead actor. He made his debut in Nerukku Ner, then was featured in successes such as Nandha, Kaakha Kaakha, Perazhagan, Ghajini, Vaaranam Aayiram, Ayan, Singam and Singam II as well as Maattrraan, 7th Sense, Ayan and Chennaiyil Oru Naal.

He has won three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards South, established as one of Tamil cinema's leading contemporary actors. He has also been listed number 33 in Forbes India's "Celebrity 100 List" for the year 2013.

His awards include:

  • Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Tamil (2009)
  • Vijay Award for Best Actor (2008)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor – Tamil(2004)
  • Vijay Award for Entertainer of the Year (2010)
  • Nandi Award for Best Supporting Actor (1997)
  • Vijay Award for Icon of the Year (2007)

Amitabh Harivansh Bachchan is an Indian film actor who gained initial popularity in the early 1970s for his roles in movies such as Deewar and Zanjeer. He was dubbed as India's first "angry young man" for his on-screen roles in Bollywood films. He has appeared in well over 180 Indian films. Bachchan has been considered one of the most influential actors in the history of the Indian cinema.

Referred to by the French director François Truffaut as "one-man industry," Amitabh has won the best actors among numerous other awards.

His movies and TV shows include the following: The Great Gatsby (2013), Sholay (1975), Kabhi Khushi (2001), Satyagraha (2013), Bhoothnath Returns (2014)

His awards includes the following:

  • Filmfare Award for Best Actor (2010)
  • National Film Award for Best Actor (2009)
  • Padma Shri (1984)
  • Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (1991)
  • Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor (2001)
  • Padma Bhushan (2001)
  • Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor (2006)
  • Zee Cine Award for Best Actor (2006)

Each of the actors that are indicated above as well as several others are known for their roles that they played in for a variety of films.

Although the newer actors have talent and acting skills, they had more of a difficult time breaking into the industry however.


The music featured in Bollywood films are referred to as Hindi film songs or filmi songs. Initially birthed from Western films’ song and dance routines, the Bollywood film songs has evolved throughout the years. It is now comprised of Indian pop music that has been inspired by both modern and classical musical sources.

The Hindi film songs have been adopted by North India's popular culture and have been placed and embraced by their overall marketplace. The songs have been played and well received by the public during bus trips, long train rides, at shopping facilities and at other public facilities with in the marketplace.

Back in the early 30s, the HindI film songs that appeared in the Hindi Cinema, featured multiple songs. Such as the initial Soundtrack film, Alam Ara released in 1931, that featured seven songs. Shortly there after, films would feature as many as 42 songs that were played together in films and then as much as 69 songs. However, music productions that were featured in films have been significantly reduced to between six and ten songs for each film release.

During the initial release of film songs, the Hindi films featured a variety of music that later divided into different genres, including mythological's, devotional, historical and fantasy genres of music.

After making its presence known throughout the entire nation, the Bollywood music had cut through the language barriers nationwide, through all of India.

The Bollywood film songs have also become popular in South Asia and in several other countries around Asia. Today the music can be found on television, on the radio, at live music performances and on other media platforms. Additionally Indian film music has spread far beyond the Indian cinema and is a part of the Indian culture where ever Indians may be located throughout the world.

A common tradition in Bollywood songs used for films is remixing. This takes place when beats and rhythms are mixed with earlier versions of the same song. In Bollywood the composer - who is responsible for the music played in films - is referred to as the music director. Music directors are very critical in the film business because their songs can create success or failure for the film. At the music director's discretion, some of the songs are a remix of previously recorded material that is released on regular soundtrack albums.

As a marketing strategy, some of Bollywood's film producers have released the film's soundtrack before the film has been released. This is done with the intent of attracting audiences to the film prior to its release – increasing sales potential.

The sounds that are used in the Bollywood films are not typically recorded on location but created in the studio. When this takes place, actors recite their parts while in the studio. This takes place in a process referred to as looping in the sound. Other sound effects were added later. This went on until as recently as 2001, when filmmakers begin to record sound on location.


Most all of Bollywood films have both songs and dance performers. There has been a wide number of dance styles that have evolved throughout the years. Films that were released prior to 1960 were mainly folk dance and classical dancing with different variations of each. Most of the dance routines were of the influence of Bhqrat Natyan and Kuchipudi. The films associated with Hindi or Urdu have received influences from Kathak, or other dance routines such as those associated with the tawaifs.

Some of the dance styles have been combined with a mixture of styles that have become unidentifiable with regards to its original orgin.

Songs that are played in Bollywood's film that also includes dance is usually done by using pre-recorded music, professionally recorded by playback singers. The actors and / or dancers, lip sync the words to the song while they are dancing. Very few of the dancers sing well enough to actually act and sing as professional playback singers, however.

The dancing that takes place in Bollywood films is normally comprised of a blend of Western dance styles with a mixture of an element from the Indian dance culture, with the main character dancing with a group of other dancers surrounding him or her. Sometimes the dance and song takes place as a duet.

The song and dance routines normally take place and are staged in very beautiful settings made up of very colorfully, staged, architectural designs.

The Bollywood dance is comprised of a mixture of various styles that include the Indian folk dance, Western popular dancing, belly dancing, jazz dancing, kathak dancing and sometimes even Western erotic dancing.

The dance routines used in Bollywood films have been created by some of India's top choreographers who work very hard behind the scenes with the actors and actresses to perfect their dance routines.

Choreographers have been responsible for some of the greatest dance routines performed on Bollywood’s screens. Some of the choreographers that have been responsible for successful dance routines in films include Shiamak Davar, responsible for dance routines in “Taal,” “Bunty aur Bubli” and “Dil to Paagal Hai, Saroj Khan responsible for “Baazigar,” “Soldier” and “Veer Zara.”

The song and dance routines were previously shot in Kashmir prior to the political unrest that took place since the end of the 80s. Now today, many of the song and dance scenes are shot in Western Europe, such as Australia and Switzerland.

Item numbers, which is what the Bollywood film industry refers to as a physically attractive female dancer that is typically unrelated to the main cast or plot of the film, may also perform a dance routine in the film. Such as Katrina Kaif, who was featured as the item number in the film Chikni Chameli.

Some of the Indian film songs and dances have evolved throughout the years, as far back as the 1930s through today. The dances have been performed at world events, at South Asian Events, at Indian Film World Events and in Music Videos.


The most prominent film event associated with the Hindi films in India is the Filmfare Award Ceremony. The Filmfare began it's first awards ceremony during the year of 1954 for best films that were released in 1953. The Filmfare was initially established as an Indian, screen based magazine that started an awards ceremony for films.

The ceremony itself was called the Clare Awards, which was named after the magazine's editor.

The format of the awards was similar to that of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, where individuals could submit their votes in various categories. Also introduced in 1954 was the National Film Awards, which was also considered one of India's most prominent film award ceremonies, it has been administered by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals, who also administers the International Film Festival of India along with the Indian Panorama.

The Indian National Film Awards is held annually in new Delhi.

Other film ceremonies that are held in India consist of the Screen Awards, the Stardust Awards and the Global Indian Film and Television Awards.

There are also award ceremonies held for films that take place in different parts of the world. Including the Bollywood Movie Awards ceremony, which is held in Long Island, New York in the United States of America. The Global Indian Film Awards is held annually in a different country each year, the International Indian Film Academy awards and the Zee Cine Awards, both also held in a different country each year.

Additionally, there is the Screen Awards (formally called the Star Screen Awards) which honors professional excellence in the Bollywood film industry. The awards are held in India each year.

The Star Guild Award for Best Female Playback Singer consist of an award for the best female playback singer within the Bollywood film industry. This award was won most by Shreya Ghoshal, she also received the most nominations ant the most nominations within a single year.

These very lavished ceremonies are comprised of dancing, singing and a large host of celebrities that attend the events.

Other awards are also presented in a variety of categories that consists of best director, best film, best actress, best actor, best supporting actress, best supporting actor, best comedian, best music, best lyricist, best male debut, best female debut, a critics awards for female and one for male. There are also awards for the best story, the best dialogue, the best male singer and the best female singer. Additional categories consist of the best choreography and the best costume designer.

Interestingly enough, there is a Bollywood film awards company called Esquire that offers a digital newsletter, makes subscriptions available, provides promotions and follows Bollywood Awards called “Booray for Bollywood, which is a very similar term to the American phrase “Hooray for Hollywood.” Booray for Bollywood focuses on providing updates, highlights and information about the various awards that takes place in the Bollywood Film Industry. They also provide information and highlights on the Bollywood film stars.

Productions and finances

Typical film production cost for the Bollywood films are multiple millions of dollars, where some of the more expensive film productions cost as much as $20 million to produce. The most expensive Bollywood film ever produced was the latest Science Fiction Film titled RaOne, which was produced for US$27 million.

In years past, production cost associated with special-effects, the set, design, costumes and cinematography was not that high compared to other films, nor was it of the greatest quality compared to other films in the industry. Then a noticeable change began to take place in the mid to late 90s, when higher production costs were present in Bollywood films.

As Indian film producers observed the distribution of Western films into the Indian marketplace, there became a greater demand for them to produce films with the same level of quality as the Western films. The demands were more apparent in areas such as special effects and action. Additionally films that have been shot overseas (outside of India) have proven to show increases in box office sales. To that end, various Indian film crews have began filming in other parts of the world, such as New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, the United States and Continental Europe as well as other places in the world. Of course, films with large budgets that are shot in India are also available for large funding opportunities as well.

Although the funding for some of the Bollywood films comes from large Studios, Private Distributors, Indian banks and other financial institutions, there are some illegitimate sources that provide funding as well, which is to be warned against.

According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, it is estimated that the Bollywood film industry loses approximately $100 million each year due to the loss of revenue from bootleg or pirated DVDs and home videos. Despite these unusually large losses, the Bollywood film industry is still a very lucrative and financially sound industry.


Bollywood films began to experience its first box office sales of more than $20 million in 1943 when the film Gyan Mukherjee directed Kismet. By the 60s and the 70s, the industry began to experience more consistent commercial success and box office sales increased tremendously.

After the 80s which is referred to as the "dark age" the Bollywood film industry began to see even more increases and major successes within the Indian industry.

Years ago, the success of a film was determined by how long it was played at the box office, more so than the revenue that it generated. It was later determined that due to alternative media and distribution outlets, the longevity of films played at the box office has decreased and the revenue earning pattern shifted. Major revenues from box office sales mostly came from sales generated during the first week that the film was been released. Beginning in the decades of 2000 - 2010 film professionals within the Bollywood film industry realized that if they increased their marketing efforts, that it would significantly increase the box office sales to the tune of ¥1 billion crore ($17M USD) during the first week and could reach up to ¥300 million crore ($4.9M) on the first day the film was released. Incidentally, the film Hum Aapke Hain Kiun...! was released in 1994 and was one of Bollywood's first films to cross the ¥1 billion crore, or ($17M, USD) mark.

Some of Bollywood film industry's largest worldwide gross sales include Dhoom 3, which was released in the year of 2013 by Yashraj Films. It generated $88 million in worldwide gross sales, followed by Chennai Express also released during the year of 2013 by Red Chilies Entertainment. It resulted in $77 million in worldwide gross sales.

The highest gross Bollywood film sales in India consist of Dhoom 3, also released during the year of 2013 by Yash Raj Films, Grossing ¥2,604,500,000 in Indain film sales, followed by Krrish 3, also released in 2013 by Filmkraft Productions which grossed ¥2,449,200,000 in gross Indian film sales.

The Bollywood film industry also has a 1 billion club that includes films that reached ¥1 billion crore in movies sales at the box office. As of December 2013, 26 films have exceeded the ¥1 billion mark.

The 10 films with the biggest opening day in the Bollywood film industry took place between the years of 2011 through 2014. One film reached the mark in 2011, four films in 2012, four films in 2013 and one film in 2014. The film with the largest opening-day gross sales was Dhoom 3, which was released in the year of 2013 by Yash Raj films netting ¥362 200,000 crore.

Influence and popularity in the world

The The Bollywood film Industry has gained a vast amount of popularity among audiences from around the world.

With a presence in and exposure to its films in places such as Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Russia, Asia, the UK and beyond, many non-Indian fans have grown up being exposed to the Bollywood genre of films for generations. It's cross cultural appeal has captured the attention of both the public audience and the attention of movie and film professionals worldwide as well. In fact, actors from the Western film industry is now in pursuit of roles in Bollywood films.

Places such as Africa, that has had a distribution of Indian films made to their country, has adapted to some of the Indian culture as a result of it. For example the Indian film, Mother Nigeria that was released and distributed in 1957, was played decades after its initial release and was warmly embraced by the Nigerian culture.

Indian movies have also been responsible for altering the style of Hausa's fashions as well as various musical compositions. It has also influenced the writers of Nigerian novels and other industries within the country such as the bus and taxi Industry in northern Nigeria who have been known for decorating their vehicles (used for public transportation) with a variety of stickers associated with Indian films. Additionally auto mechanics and tailor shops lined their walls with Indian film posters.

Many films were shot in various parts of Africa, particularly those with a large population of Indians such as Mauritius.

Bollywood films have also been well embraced in East Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan and China. Because of India's close proximity to Afghanistan, Bollywood movies have also had influences and gained popularity in that area as well.

There's also a great presence and influence in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries as well as Russia.

Bollywood's North American presence is in areas such as Canada that contain South Asian communities such as Toronto and other south Asian communities in the United States such as Chicago and New York City.

Bollywood has influenced musical films within parts of the Western world and was responsible for reviving the American musical film genre. In fact according to Baz Luhemann, his musical film called Moulin Rouge! was specifically inspired by Bollywood's musicals. Additionally as a result of its success, Moulin Rouge sparked an interest in the western musical genre and inspired films such as The Producers, Dream Girls, Chicago, Enchanted, Mama Mia, Rent, Hairspray, Across the Universe, Phantom of the Opera and Sweeney.

Plagiarism by Hollywood, Europe...

For years in times past, it has been common knowledge that producers from the Bollywood film industry has taken various parts of Hollywood film ideas, musical sounds and plot lines for their Indian films. Often times without acknowledging the original source and with little one no recourse. Most of the films that were copied would be undetected by American audiences because they were not familiar with the Indian films.

Many Bollywood film producers were on a tight budget and lacked the funds needed to hire screenwriters to create an original film scripts. American films such as What Lies Beneath which was remade into an Indian film titled Raaz and the remake of the American film Jagged Edge into an Indian film titled Kasoor are both examples of Bollywood 's desire to create box office hits the same storyline as some of the American box office hits. Regardless of Bollywood's desire to adapt various American cultures into their storylines, the action itself is still known as plagiarism. Some American film production companies such as 20th Century Fox has taken some of Leap Bollywood down companies to court over various plagiarism activities including the illegal remake of My Cousin Vinny and wedding crashers.

However, what most people don't realize is that there has also been plagiarism activity that has taken place in Hollywood as well. In fact some of the Hollywood movies became award-winning blockbuster hits, yet have the same plot as Indian movies that have been released years prior. Hollywood films such as Leap Year has the same story line and plot as the Bollywood film, ‘Jab We Met’ and other films such as the 2001 Pearl Harbor, which has been highly influenced by the 1964 classic, Sangam. Other’s include the award winning “A Wednesday – A Common Man released in 2013, which is an official remake of the Indian thriller film A Wednesday released in 2008, Vicky Donor – Delivery: The Delivery Man that was based on the 2012 release of Vicky Donor, where the plots of both films are the same. In each the lead actor donates sperm for money and gives birth to hundreds of children. There are other American films that have been heavily influenced by Indian movies as well.


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