One of the distinguishing features of Indian popular culture is cinema. The movie industry of Mumbai (Bombay until 1995) is referred to in common parlance as Bollywood, a blend of the names Bombay and Hollywood that initially came into use during the 1970s. Bollywood films are usually in Hindi and are commonly characterized by romance, action, glamour, songs and dances, comedy, and adventure. While Bollywood makes up just one part of India’s film industry, Bollywood movies appeal to millions of viewers worldwide far beyond India’s frontiers. This entry discusses the history of Bollywood films, important figures in Bollywood, and the impact of Bollywood on Indian and global cultures.

Silent Era Through the Golden Age

Long before the term Bollywood was coined, filmmakers from Mumbai were making their ...

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