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Hindi Cinema

Essay by   •  December 24, 2010  •  Study Guide  •  966 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,232 Views

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Bollywood (Hindi: बॉलीवुड, Urdu: ИÐ--бی жЏ) is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India (Bharat). The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Hindi cinema. Bollywood is only a part of the Bhartiya film industry.

The name is a portmanteau of Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the center of the American film industry. Though some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood, it seems likely to persist and now has its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Bollywood is commonly referred to as Hindi cinema, even though Hindustani, the substratum common to both Hindi and Urdu, might be more accurate. Bollywood consists of the languages of Hindi, Urdu and English. The use of poetic Urdu words is fairly common. The connection between Hindi, Urdu, and Hindustani is an extremely contentious matter.

There has been a growing presence of Indian English in dialogue and songs as well. It is not uncommon to see films that feature dialogue with English words and phrases, even whole sentences. There is a growing number of English films. A few films are also made in two or even three languages (either using subtitles, or several soundtracks).

Bollywood films are generally musicals, and are expected to contain catchy music in the form of song-and-dance numbers woven into the script. A film's success often depends on the quality of such musical numbers.[1] Indeed, a film's music is often released before the movie itself and helps increase the audience.

Indian audiences expect full value for their money, with a good entertainer generally referred to as paisa vasool, (literally, "money's worth"). Songs and dances, love triangles, comedy and dare-devil thrills -- all are mixed up in a three-hour-long extravaganza with an intermission. Such movies are called masala films, after the Hindustani word for a spice mixture, masala. Like masalas, these movies are a mixture of many things.

Bollywood plots have tended to be melodramatic. They frequently employ formulaic ingredients such as star-crossed lovers and angry parents, love triangles, family ties, sacrifice, corrupt politicians, kidnappers, conniving villains, courtesans with hearts of gold, long-lost relatives and siblings separated by fate, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences.

Songs from Bollywood movies are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers, with the actors then lip synching the words to the song on-screen, often while dancing. While most actors, especially today, are excellent dancers, few are also singers. One notable exception was Kishore Kumar, who starred in several major films in the 1950s while also having a stellar career as a playback singer. K. L. Saigal, Suraiyya, and Noor Jehan were also known as both singers and actors. Some actors in the last thirty years have sung one or more songs themselves; for a list, see Singing actors and actresses in Indian cinema.

Playback singers are prominently featured in the opening credits and have their own fans who will go to an otherwise lacklustre movie just to hear their favourites. Going by the quality as well as the quantity of the songs they rendered, most notable singers of Bollywood are Suraiyya, Noor Jehan, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, Alka Yagnik, etc among female playback singers and K. L. Saigal, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam among male playback singers. Mohammed Rafi is often considered the arguably finest of the singers that sung for Bollywood, followed by Lata Mangeshkar, who, through the course of a career

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