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Indian cinema has historically assumed that its enormous local impact disqualifies it from imagining an audience beyond the domestic one. But why are only 15—17 per cent of Indian films commercially successful? Who is making all the money? The criminal underworld of Bollywood is described along with the attempts to clean up the industry. An important marker occurred in , when the very character of the Indian state appeared to have been transformed, and with it, its attitude to its cinema industry. Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase.
Bollywood , Hindi-language sector of the Indian moviemaking industry that began in Bombay now Mumbai in the s and developed into an enormous film empire. After early Indian experiments in silent film, in Bombay Talkies, launched by Himansu Rai, spearheaded the growth of Indian cinema. Over the years, several classic genres emerged from Bollywood: the historical epic, notably Mughal-e-Azam ; the curry western, such as Sholay ; the courtesan film, such as Pakeezah , which highlights stunning cinematography and sensual dance choreography; and the mythological movie, represented by Jai Santoshi Maa Stars, rather than plots, were often the driving force behind the films. Beginning in , when Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani emerged as the first major star pair, the Indian public developed an insatiable appetite for news about their screen heroes. Standard features of Bollywood films continued to be formulaic story lines, expertly choreographed fight scenes, spectacular song-and-dance routines, emotion-charged melodrama , and larger-than-life heroes. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.