A Blog on Cinema

Myths about Bollywood


For Westerners, Bollywood = Indian Film Industry. Their stars are better known, and get more coverage in the national press. But what is the truth?

If you are looking at revenues from film content, the southern film industry generated about Rs 1,700 crore last year; Bollywood did less than Rs 600 crore! And if you are looking at sheer numbers, there were all of 230 films in Telugu alone last year, much more than Bollywood. More Bengali and Malayalam than Hindi films have won awards abroad at prestigious film festivals. Films that are most likely to be called ‘world movies’ from India are not those from the Hindi film industry but rather Marathi. Some of the best technical crew in the country works in the south, not in Mumbai’s Film City. So isn’t it time Bollywood got off its high horse? [Starry Starry Blight]

In fact Mahesh Nair’s article has many other gems, which makes it worth reading. For example.

Always remember: when an actor’s look and the film’s style or sets are being talked about (except when it is a period film), it almost always means that there is no story. Be it Big B’s Johnny Depp-inspired look in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Akshay Kumar’s tattoo in Blue, Kareena’s size-zero figure in Tashan or the style of any Sanjay Gupta film. Such marketing ploys hide one fact—the story sucks. That’s why most of these big films give more billing to the costume designer, stylist or physical trainer than the writer. Just like you have vanity vans, these are vanity films, made primarily to make the actor look good and keep him happy.[Starry Starry Blight]

So while we’re at it, let us take a look at some interesting statistics. National Film awards were instituted some 55 years back in 1954. Since then,

  • Non-Bollywood movies have won the Best Movies award 42 times(since 1954, no awards in 1979)
  • Best Actor Award, since 1968(40 years) non-Hindi actors won 28 times.
  • Between Mammootty, Kamal Haasan and Mohanlal, they have won 8 awards.
  • Notable Bollywood winners include Saif Ali Khan for Hum Tum and Amitabh Bachan for Agneepath.
  • Best Directors – its brutal – since 1968(40 years) Non Bollywood directors won 35 times.
  • Malayalee Directors have won a third of these best directors awards. We wouldn’t be surprised be they impose some sort of cap on some of our directors.
  • Story is similar for other technical awards and supporting actors categories
  • No wonder they have instituted Filmfare awards for each language.


  1. Well written, Make it visible to everyone in the world.

  2. No success story has ever been placed on the pedestal of acceptance with an immediate note. A truly proud moment for all relevant ethnicites.

  3. Good post. But I guess it is more or less the same way most of the world. Since movie making needs lot of investment, the business model prefers the formula. It is upto committed artists to make good films using money earned from the formulas.

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