Bollywood musicals: Busby Berkeley goes east of Suez!

I love Indian food. Occasionally, eating in Indian restaurants, I’ve seen Bollywood musicals playing on cable TV. To my foreign eye, they look a lot like the old Busby Berkeley musicals --huge production numbers with hundreds of choreographed dancers. Only with Indian music and Indian costumes, etc. But I’ve never been able to discern what the story was about. Is it the same sort of story you would see in an American musical film of the 1930s-50s?

Bollywood films have a plot? :smiley:

Seriously, My understanding is that they’re generally “Boy Meets Girl, Parents Disapprove, Boy Brings Everyone Around With Gigantic Song & Dance Number, Parents Approve, Big Wedding Scene with Another Song & Dance Number, Followed By The Credits.

Bride & Prejudice and The Guru are both Western films that poke fun at Bollywood, if you want to start light and work your way up from there…

Hopefully one of the board’s Indian members can shed some more light on Bollywood’s offerings for us! :slight_smile:

While a good deal of Hindi films do follow that narrative pattern (Romantic Comedy is THE major Genre) there are action films, historical epics, thrillers and rt films coming from Bollywood these days. (BTW When we say Bollywood, we are only referring to the industry based in Mumbai, there are many regions of India that have their own film industries, but Bollywood is the most internationally known.)

What you’ve got to understand is that Popular films in India are made for everyone, so they cater to that demographic, there’s singing and dancing for the young crowd, action for the boys, romance for the girls and no kissing for the prudes. Though I’d point out the last bit is changing with movies like Salaam Namaste and Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena featuring not only kissing but sex scenes. The singing and dancing is a vital part of the industry because the public will come in droves to see movies with popular songs in them (Plus MTV India now finances a lot of films)

There are some notable exceptions, with a slew of “art” films being released with little to no music in them (Black, the Earth, Water, Fire Trilogy.) and more remakes of foreign movies like Zinda (Old Boy), Ek Ajnabee (Man On Fire), Chocolate (Usual Suspects) Sarkar (The Godfather, which I would reccomend) Ugar (Powder) Salaam Namaste (Nine Months) Hum Tum (When Harry Met Sally).

You should also know that there are Four major actors in Hindi Cinema and one Living Legend - I’ll list them with their Hollywood Equivilant -

Shah Ruh Khan - Tom Hanks (King of the box Office for the back two decades)
Aamir Khan - George Clooney (Former Hearthrob who does socially concious movies.)
Salman Khan - Nicholas Cage (Formally a superstar, now on the wane)
Hritik Roshan - Tom Cruise circa 1990 (Pretty boy heartthrob who for some reason I can’t stand)

and the living legend is Amitabh Bachan whose carreer you could emulate in Hollywood if you combine Clint Eastwood, Brando, Harrison Ford and Regis Philbin’s carreers in to one.

Anyway, to answer the original question, Yet but you don’t always know how it will turn out.

Sorry the answer was “Yes” not Yet

It just struck me – India has dozens of languages, and no language-of-wider-communication but English, and the few Bollywood musicals I’ve seen are not in Egnlish. In what language are most films made?

Pretty much every state has its own cinema industry; but Bollywood films are made in Hindi, often with a smattering of English.

It’s not quite true that there’s no language-of-wider-communication than English - Hindi has been one of the official national languages for a very long time, and while that has met with resistance in the south, it is the closest thing to a lingua franca that exists in India at the moment.

There are movies without him? I think he’s popped up in every Bollywood movie I’ve seen.

Well, the stars tend to be quite prolific. The only exception is Aamir Khan, who bucks the trend by only doing one movie at a time.