Imagine a world where Hollywood released three major movies each and every day. Imagine the marketing effort required to encourage us to take seats in cinemas to absorb such a massive entertainment output. Well there is a film industry that produces three major releases each day, it's not Hollywood, it's Bollywood!
Each day over 14 million Indians watch a movie in a cinema. To satisfy this massive daily audience the Indian film industry produces over 1,000 major movies a year which is well over twice the output of the American film industry. Often, films are made so fast that actors shoot scenes for four different movies simultaneously in a their daily visit to the studio. The name Bollywood is a blend of the words Bombay and Hollywood, and is now a widely used term to describe the largest movie industry in the world - Indian cinema.
Bollywood cinema is very different to Western cinema in that almost all films are musicals. At any given time, the actors can be expected to break out into song, something that often leaves Western audiences in fits of laughter or puzzlement. Earlier movies included up to 40 songs though a current trend has seen the song count reduced to about seven or eight per film. Songs and dances, love triangles, comedy and dare-devil stunts are mixed into a three hour long extravaganza with an intermission. Bollywood movies are pure escapism, to the point where life loses touch with reality and almost everyone in the world dances like Michael Jackson
A good Bollywood plot will be melodramatic. The plot will frequently employ formulaic ingredients such as star-crossed lovers and angry parents, corrupt politicians, kidnappers, conniving villains, foolish police, long-lost relatives and siblings separated by fate, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences.
Even if you don't understand a word of Hindi you will still be able to follow the basic storyline of a Bollywood movie. One of my favourite movie scenes has a bird using it's beak to write the registration number of a getaway car in the sand for an appreciative police officer. It was somehow very satisfying to see that animals in India are just as talented at helping to catch crooks as Skippy the bush kangaroo.
If you are after a daily dose of Bollywood then satellite television is definitely the place to get it. On almost all of the Indian channels that can be seen in Australia and New Zealand you will find Bollywood music clips, gossip and news. A good place to start exploring the Bollywood culture is at the Sahara One channel on Asiasat 3.
Each weekday on Sahara One there is a Bollywood midday movie matinee at noon Indian time (4:30 PM Sydney time) and on weekend evenings fantastic Bollywood blockbusters are presented from around 11PM Sydney time. When not showing movies Sahara One offers a wide choice of Indian soap operas, serials and general entertainment.
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