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     Bollywood 101

Admit it, when the theme of Bollywood comes to mind, the first thing that pops up are couples running around coconut trees, singing their love to each other. Then shame on you! Keep up with the times will you? Nowadays they have upgraded to magically teleporting themselves in scenic locations and the ability to make passer-bys dance with them in harmony with their singing.

But seriously, how many really know about this mega film industry in India? Apparently being the the worlds largest film industry for which mainly supported by a vast film-going Indian public, Indian films have been gaining increasing popularity to the rest of the world. Crossover films like BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, MONSOON WEDDING and LAGAAN (Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Language film) has come into the worlds acceptance and it won't be long till Bollywood becomes as mainstream, as HK and French films.

India is a large country where many languages are spoken. Each of the languages supports its own film industry: Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada. The Hindi film industry, based in Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is called Bollywood (a melding of Hollywood and Bombay). The Bollywood industry is the largest in terms of films produced and box office receipts, just as Hindi/Hindustani speakers outnumber speakers of other Indian languages (at least within India). Many workers in other regional industries, once established, will move to Bollywood for greater exposure or opportunity.

Now a rule of thumb of such genre tend to be :

Long — 3 hours, with an intermission.
Musical — action is periodically interrupted by song-and-dance routines. Good movies use the routines to move the story forward; mediocre movies have them only because the audience demands them. Songs are sung by professional play-back singers and lip-synched by dancing actors and actresses. In some cases, the actors/actress have the ability to also sing, makes it a plus point for the movie.
Melodramatic, sentimental, of mixed genre — A mixture of romance, comedy, action, suspense, etc.

  Comman terms used.  
  pita, abba, baabul father
  maata, amma, maa mother
  beta son
  beti daughter
  bahin, bahana sister
  bhai, bhaiyya brother
  pati husband
  patni, biwi, bibi wife
  pyaar, ishq, muhabbat, prem love
  ham, hum we; also used to mean 'I'
  tu, tum, aap you (in order of ascending formality)
  mera, meri my, mine
  tera, teri your, yours
  sanam, jaanam, jaan, jaanejaan darling, sweetheart
  chori, chori chori, chupke se in secret; quietly
  kahaan where
  kaun who
  kaisa, kaise how, what kind

Bollywood's visual style is also infiltrating Hollywood sensibilities like MOULIN ROUGE and CHICAGO but this can also be argued to whom it all started as in the Hollywood Gene Kelly era where it seems to back it up perfectly. As Bollywood goes Hollywood, Hollywood directors and producers are also looking towards India. Salman Khan will start working on a Hollywood production - MARIGOLD. The film is a musical romantic comedy written and directed by US filmmaker Willard Carroll. Budgeted at under $10 million, it has been dubbed as Bollywood-Hollywood collaboration and will be shot in both English and Hindi languages. MARIGOLD will be filmed in Mumbai, Goa and Rajasthan.

While Aishwarya Rai's BRIDE AND PREJUDICE is also the hot international talking point with a Bollywood connection, Mallika Sherawat has signed on to star in a Jackie Chan film and newcomer Deepal Shah has been signed to appear in an international music video that will feature sexy pop star Beyonce Knowles.

The US cinema major-20th Century Fox is reportedly in talks for an English version of the film, MUNNABHAI M.B.B.S (Sanjay Dutt's hit film). The film details the efforts of a goon trying to become a doctor to live up to his parents' expectations.

So in that saying, let the Bollywood saga continue, internationally.


Presenting a friendly FAQ to aid a better understanding so that you can fully enjoy a Bollywood movie.

Why don't the characters ever KISS already?
Bollywood plays to a diverse range of people, from the illiterate and provincial to the worldly and urban. Ideas of morality differ widely from group to group. Why include a kiss when you can easily leave it out and avoid the risk of offending customers?
What does it mean when you tug on your ears?
You tug your ears in a variety of social situations, but mainly when apologizing, as a physical admission of wrong-doing and as a demonstration of repentance.

What does it mean when you touch someone's feet?
Touching someone's feet is a sign of respect usually accorded solely to elders. Why is this considered respectful, you ask? Well, Hindu theology, and Indian culture in general, holds the feet to be the most polluted part of the body. This is why you take off your shoes upon entering a temple, and also why you should never point the soles of your feet at someone.

What d oes it mean when you press your palms together?
You can equate this to a handshake if you'd like, but pressing your palms together connotes a respect the handshake no longer does (unless you consider the significance of refusing to shake hands, the gravest of all insults, which accordingly implies that a handshake does, indeed, show respect).

What does it mean when you wear red stuff in the part of your hair?
This, unlike the bindi, has one clear meaning - she is married, and her husband is alive. If she were to be widowed, she would cease to wear vermilion in her part. Legend has it that this ceremony began due to a slew of brides being kidnapped at the wedding ceremony. The groom would fight for his bride, and if he slayed the would-be abductor, he would smear his bride's part with the fallen man's blood. Hindi filmmakers love this: watch a few action movies and you're sure to see the hero smearing the villain's blood into his beloved's hair.

What does it mean when you wave a lamp on a tray?
Usually this occurs in two different contexts in films: when greeting a guest, and when worshipping God. as a way of acknowledging the sacred within them; since guests are considered to be sacred, greeting them this way acknowledges their divine nature and conveys what an honor it is for them to visit.

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