By: Uma Attreya
Do you want to see movies where people speak “Indian?” Well, you’re out of luck, because “Indian” isn’t actually a language, just like how we don’t speak “American!” There are actually around 22 different Indian languages, with over 700 dialects! Two languages are spoken in my family. My mom’s side speaks Tamil, a Southern Indian language, whereas my dad’s side speaks Hindi, a Northern Indian language, and also India’s “official” language. Hindi is what we’re going to be focusing on.
Just like the millions of English movies in the Hollywood industry, there are millions of Hindi movies in Bollywood, except there’s no actual place called “Bollywood”. Hindi movies are known as Bollywood movies, as a combination of the Indian city Bombay (Mumbai) and Hollywood. Bollywood makes a lot more movies than Hollywood because the entertainment industry in India is huge, especially since it includes so many different languages. Some famous Bollywood actresses who have been in English movies/shows (seen in the picture in order) include Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, in the movie “Provoked,” Deepika Padukone, in “xXx: Return of Xander Cage,” and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who had her own TV show “Quantico” and has starred in movies like “Baywatch” and “Isn’t it Romantic?” Famous actors include Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Hrithik Roshan.
Though I can’t fluently speak Hindi yet, I can understand a large chunk of it because of Hindi movies. What makes them so special? Music! Most English movies are shot so that the story is continuous, uninterrupted. In Hindi movies, that is not the case since many are musicals! After a particularly happy scene, like the hero finally meeting the heroine, they burst into song. The actors lip-sync to a song pre-recorded by professional singers; unlike America, the music and movie industries are linked, so there aren’t bands and solo careers but rather professional singers who sing for soundtracks of shows and movies. The actors dance too, either in the setting they are in or in a totally new, random yet scenic spot. They’re dressed in either Indian or Western-style, with fancy clothes or regular clothes. After the song, it’s like nothing happened and they’re back to normal, just like any other musical. The songs are breaks in the movies, and they are extremely entertaining. Singing them is fun, and some of them have intricate choreography, which I may or may not have attempted.
The movies are also magical sometimes. Not all Bollywood movies have happy endings, but most of them do. It’s like the feeling you get when watching a Disney movie and you know it’s all going to be okay! Despite knowing there’s a happy ending, you’re never bored. With dramatic, and sometimes unrealistic and impractical, action sequences, some Hindi movies have a fast pace. Others, telling stories about love and friendship, have a powerful soundtrack with key musical phrases corresponding to romantic, tragic, or happy scenes. There is always a dramatic introduction to the main characters, and that’s all part of the excitement! So much time and effort go into these movies, especially with the fighting sequences, dramatic effects, and songs. The plots are also engaging. Since Bollywood has a plethora of films, there’s no basic and stereotypical plotline all films follow. There are all kinds of stories about everything, just like Hollywood. Some don’t have the funky musical numbers and larger than life characters, but the genuine aspect of such movies is always heartwarming.
Bollywood is so popular because of the diversity it offers. There is something for everyone, and most movies aren’t directed towards a target audience. They emotionally reach the audience, and they often discuss important societal issues. With love stories, action sequences, and comedy, Bollywood is diverse and creative. The craziest thing is, this is only part of the whole Indian film industry!
Bollywood movies appeal to people all around the globe, and they are on streaming sites like Netflix. Please do check them out if you can during quarantine! Some of the ones I have watched on Netflix include: “Dostana” (similar to “New Girl”), “Dil Dhadakne Do” and “Dilwale” (both stories about love and family), and “3 Idiots” (a story about friendship that is both heartwarming and funny), among others. So, though you’ll never be able to watch a movie where the people speak “Indian,” you can surely check out Indian movies, and Bollywood is a way to go!
Categories: Arts & Reviews