Mumbai has always been the Hollywood of India with a thriving film making industry primarily catering to cinema goers in India. The movie, Slum Dog Millionaire shot this ancient Indian city to worldwide attention and is now attracting more curious tourists than ever.
Mumbai, perhaps more well known by its former name, Bombay, is the capital city of India’s Maharashtra state is home to a population of about 13 million people and is the largest metropolis in India. It is also one of the most populated cities in the world. Some people refer to Bombay as the tinsel town of India akin to Hollywood because Bombay is the centre of the Hindi movie industry.
Because of this association with Hollywood, Hindi movies are referred to as Bollywood made movies. The recipe for success in Bollywood is the usual poor boy meets rich girl theme interspersed with plenty of singing, dancing and costume changes. However this successful formula may have to be changed. While this formula is still a staple Bollywood fare, an increasing number of movies are experimenting with diverse story lines, from gritty dramas to horror flicks.
Industry observers say is the changes are related to, ironically, India’s booming economy, which has produced a better educated middle class that demands more sophisticated and more complex plots. This evolution is successfully proven in the movie “Slum Dog Millionaire”.
In a strange twist of events, the transformation is happening at a time when Bollywood’s visual focused style of filmmaking is infiltrating into Hollywood, influencing movies like Moulin Rouge. Indian filmmakers in the United States are infusing Hollywood made movies with the colors and lavish aesthetics, Bollywood style.
oulin Rouge was reportedly influenced by a trip the film’s director Baz Luhrmann made to India and his fascination with Bollywood style movies. The movie even featured a closing number based on the Hindi song “Chamma Chamma”.
Because of the popularity of Bollywood made movies, Mumbai is attracting tourists from all over the world and also domestic tourists, just like its counterpart, Hollywood. To satisfy the estimated 14 million or so Indians who troop to the cinema every day, the Bollywood churns out more than a thousand movies a year. This is at least twice as many movies as Hollywood produce in a year.
The Bollywood actors and actresses will break out into songs and dance routine anytime, something which often leaves Western movie goers somewhat perplexed and puzzled. Earlier made movies may even include up to 40 songs per movie. However, these days, the song and dance segment has watered down to about seven or eight per film. Location shoots in the movies often take place in beautiful foreign locations, something industry sources believe is made to appeal to the poor and to attract domestic tourists.
“Most Indians go to the cinema purely for escape. When there are characters singing and dancing in beautiful locations in Europe, say, like Switzerland and that, for most Indians is the only way they will ever get to see those places” said Ramchandran.
However, with India’s booming economy, millions of people have moved out of poverty trap into a the middle class and film productions seem to be moving in tandem from pure escapism to more sophisticated stories and plots.
How much changes are to be made to Bollywood style of film making will be seen from the years to come. In the meantime, Bollywood has certainly made Bombay famous as a holiday vacation destination for tourists visiting India thanks largely to Slum Dog Millionaire.