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Bollywood… Cinema of the East

Cinema and movies always play an influential role in human culture. It is no longer used as an entertainment medium, but it has wider roles like educational, cultural and propaganda roles. The efficacy of the cinema has been realized by many leaders in the past and the present. The charismatic Former Prime Minister “Nehru” stated that “the influence in India of films is greater than newspapers and books combined”.

A movie is a reflection of the society, as it can be used to represent the evolution of the society, its values and morals. Currently, movie makers have realized the importance of making movies that lead the society, through spreading some ethics and values.

Bollywood is one of the successful movie-making industries in the world which began in Bombay (now Mumbai) city in the 1930s. Regarding the origin of the word Bollywood, it is a merger of two words; Bombay city and American film industry “Hollywood”.

Bollywood is one of the biggest film industries in the world. It produces a large number of movies, up to more than 1,000 films in 2012 alone.  Not only the big volume of films, but also the large audience watching this cinema which reached around 3.6 billion people which is considered to be more than half of the world’s population.

Indian movies are described as “masala” which mixes a variety of genres of arts like music, violence, dance and melodrama. Those movies are distinguished by being musical ones where songs are always incorporated into the scripts. Thanks to this catchy music in those films, the Indian industry is always gaining a huge popularity from all over the world.

We have many examples of popular Indian movies that gained interest among audience and international film festivals.

Life of Pi

The dramatic and creative film was released in 2012 to tackle the story of an Indian man called “ Pi” who survived a shipwreck and got stuck in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a tiger. This movie had achieved great success in terms of revenues and its nomination for international awards including the Oscars.


Another movie that gained international attention was the Lagaan film that came into light in 2001. It spotlighted India under the British Empire by developing a story to highlight an important epoch in Indian history. This film had introduced an Indian villager who accepted a challenge by a British officer to beat his team in a game of cricket to relieve his village from paying taxes imposed by the British colony for some years. This movie also had been nominated for many international awards including the Oscars as well.

The Indian movie industry, in general, and the Bollywood, in particular, are considered an important sign of the success story of the soft power where India is capable to project its distinctive Asian culture using its traditions into the whole globe.  


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