Mumbai, India's entertainment hub and home to Bollywood are one of the world's most prolific film-making cities. Even ardent cinephiles have so many illusions about the industry that articulating what is Bollywood must first be followed by a description of what is not Bollywood.
Bollywood is the designation for the Hindi film industry in India, not the Indian filmmaking sector. In India, films are made in a variety of languages, and each language's film industry has its own name (for example, "Tollywood" and "Kollywood").
It is a common misconception that Bollywood is the world's largest filmmaking industry. This is untrue. The Indian film industry is the world's largest, with the American counterpart coming in third - behind Nigeria's Nollywood. More than 1600 films were made in India in 2012, according to the censor board. Even within India, Bollywood is hardly the most productive sector. More films were made in Tamil (262) and Telugu (256) than in Hindi last year (221).
Nonetheless, Bollywood outperforms India's other film industries, as well as Mumbai's other cities, in terms of global presence, box-office sales, and far-reaching influence. To comprehend why this is so, one needs to look back at the development of art and entertainment in the city.
Mumbai has for many years been one of India’s premier centers for arts and culture, being one of the biggest sites of the country’s theater scene in the 19th and early-20th centuries. However, the extent of the theater was restricted in India in that period and still is. The theater was never a huge sensation due to the limited mobility of the actors — and their acts with them. Literature was also hampered in its attempts to reach the general public; the high prevalence of illiteracy, combined with the segmentation of the few literates into many languages, made it difficult for a book or novel to function as a binding fabric.
Mumbai is not only India's most populous city but also its wealthiest. The city is the epicenter of so many industries in India that it serves as the backdrop for other storylines set in different parts of the country, such as the United States. The city is home to India's stock exchange and entertainment sector, as well as a mafia refuge; therefore it has the potential to function as an Indian version of Wall Street, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
The overwhelming presence of one community or language can be found in several parts of India. Kolkata is noteworthy for the prevalence of the Bengali language and culture, which gave the world Satyajit Ray. Meanwhile, Mumbai is an exception in terms of cosmopolitanism: it is a veritable melting pot of cultures and languages. Only the country's capital, Delhi, is similar in terms of diversity. The city's diversity adds to its storytelling potential: a story about practically any community may be told in Mumbai.
Bollywood's universality also has a "homeless" element to it. Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra, a Marathi-speaking state where only the Marathi film industry receives official support. As a result, Bollywood is distinguished from the other Indian film industries by the fact that it is not protected by any state government.
Financing in Bollywood, on the other hand, has never been an issue, for better or ill. Before this time, banks and financial institutions were not permitted to invest in the Indian film industry, because the government didn’t recognize it as an “industry” in the first place.
On several occasions, records of the mafia (known in the country as the "Underworld") and other questionable sources pouring money into the industry have been substantiated. Because members of Mumbai's mafia had funded the film "Chori Chori Chupke Chupke," the Central Bureau of Investigation (India's equivalent of the FBI) seized all prints of the film in 2001.
This situation restricted international financiers and studios from entering production in India until 2001 when cinema was accorded industry status. There is now a presence in India for all major American studios - from Walt Disney to 20th Century Fox. Now, Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks Animation is owned by the Mumbai-based Reliance company. Since 2001, film expenses, as well as the frequency and scale of international releases, have grown.
The country's film industry will continue to thrive as long as no political party, Indian or otherwise, shows signs of backing out shortly.
Read insightful articles on varying subjects – from website design and management, digital marketing, film and video productions, photography, lifestyle products to project management - our website FILMDISTRICTINDIA
Aug 13, 2021
by Eguaogie Eghosa