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Bollywood vs. Hollywood

What happens when you pit Bollywood against Hollywood? Read on to find out.


History (a short one)

Numerous Bollywood historians trace the industry’s beginnings to the Lumiere Brother’s films screening at Bombay’s Watson Hotel in 1896. The screening inspired local filmmakers to use India as a base, and in 1913, India’s first homegrown movie, Raja Harishchandra was produced by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. He is widely seen as the father of Indian cinema. Score: 8

What’s in a name?

Bollywood is an amalgamation of Hollywood and Bombay (which is known today as Mumbai). The term is generally used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema, in spite of there being a number of centers for the Indian film industry throughout the nation. We like amalgamations. Score: 9


Bollywood produces approximately 1000 films per year, and caters to an audience of over 3 billion. The average cost of making a movie in India is around $5 million, although 50 percent of all movies in India are not released, and 95 percent of those that have been released are financial flops. So it’s a quantity, eh? Score: 2


Indian movies are financed a number of ways, although none of which have been confirmed by the industry. According to media reports, a significant number of films are financed by businessmen and the ‘underworld’. Other reports suggest that film directors fund the movies themselves. If the movies flop, so do the director’s careers (and their bank balances). We value transparency, so Bollywood’s shadiness doesn’t appeal to us. Score: 1


You won’t find a single, Oscars-type award ceremony for Bollywood movies. Instead, the Indian film industry has a number of well-regarded awards ceremonies, including the Filmfare Awards (organized by Filmfare magazine since 1954); Stardust Awards (organized by Stardust magazine since 2003); and the National Film Awards, which was introduced in 1954, and sponsored by the Indian government since 1973. More awards means more glitzy affairs, and which we love. Score: 8


Bollywood films are generally musicals, featuring elaborate dance scenes and catchy music. For many audiences, the better the musical scenes, the better the film’s entertainment value.

As for the plots, many Indian film plots center around melodramatic love stories and include angry parents, villains, jokers, families torn by circumstance, and so on. How about a change? Score: 2

Final score: 30



  1. biba liro on February 24, 2009 9:28 pm

    Hollywood is incomparable to Bollywood by a far stretch. Indian cinema cannot even approximate that of films made in Europe – which has far more use of cinematic language and where plots at least do not insult the average moviegoer’s mind. If not for Danny Boyle, Slumdog will not be India’s ticket to the Oscar’s. After 50 plus years of film industry, how come they only got the award now — with a British director and production to boot?

  2. Nancy on February 25, 2009 11:55 am

    //The term is generally used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema, in spite of there being a number of centers for the Indian film industry throughout the nation. We like amalgamations. Score: 9//

    This is absolutely wrong. Compare to Bollywood the south Indian movies are far better in quality.

  3. Bollywood Rocks on August 8, 2009 9:29 pm

    So who died and made you king. Bollywood is the biggest movie in the world and gives pleasure to millions of fans world wide. Bollywood movies resonate with their audience is and that is really what great cinema is all about.

    Bollywood stars have to be able to sing, dance and act, and the profession requires a lot of dedication and commitment. I’m sorry, but does Sacha Coen have any talents besides being obnoxious? does Paris hilton have any talent besides making sex tapes?

    Final comment, the sections around financing and genres lead me to believe that the writer has never actually intervied a production house in Bombay or watched hindi movies other than what floated up the charts. There are a lot of good movies being made today that could easily outshine their Hollywood counterparts, like Black, or Barah Anna.

  4. James on October 16, 2009 5:28 pm

    biba liro:Your reasoning seems to be that Westerners only gave an award to Indians for only 1 film recently, Western films are better.
    Well when has the reverse ever happened? Clearly, since it’s the Westerners awarding the Indians rather than the other way round, the Indians win.

  5. zorbon on November 6, 2010 12:31 am

    95% bolly movies are financial flops? I demand research before claiming baseless statements. I dont think you have ever seen a whole hindi movie


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