Ever tried dancing Bollywood style? On World Bollywood Day, September 24, it’s time to release your inner Shah Rukh Khan or Priyanka Chopra and celebrate this amazing dance style seen in movies that are loved not only in India but across the globe.
Bollywood is a famous dance-form used in Indian films and is revered throughout the desi world. A mixture of numerous styles including belly dancing, “kathak”, Indian folk, Western popular, and modern jazz, the dance moves go hand-in-hand with the commercial and artistic framework of the South Asian film world. Not to mention, at desi “shaadi’s” (weddings)!
History of World Bollywood Day
Everybody has probably seen some form of Bollywood dance in their lifetimes, but it’s hard to pin down what it actually is. However, those desi dance moves are always recognizable, and Bollywood dance and movies have a long and rich cultural history in South Asia.
Let us begin by discussing the term “Bollywood”. In the strict sense, the term “Bollywood” refers to the Hindi culture, art, and film industry from Bombay. The other film centers of South Asia are often referred to by their own designations. For example, the old Pakistani movie industry is termed “Lollywood” — after Lahore, one of the capitals of Pakistan — and Tollywood, for Andra Pradesh in Bangladesh.
However, since the Bombay Hindi film industry dwarfs the other production centers, the term “Bollywood” is generally extended to mean the entire South Asian film culture. The international appeal of Bollywood dancing is something that has been many decades in the making. Originally it was found only in places that had a significant consumption of Indian films, such as the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.
During the 1930s, Bollywood films were made often to raise awareness of what filmmakers saw as the societal issues of the time. The industry was already booming, with several well-known filmmakers producing films with dialogue in most of India’s diverse language groups. The first color film, “Kisna Kanya,” was released during this era.
World War II and Indian independence from Britain did nothing to slow down India’s film industry. Bollywood was fast becoming known as India’s obsession and post-independence cinema gained wide recognition. The creation of the Film and Television Institute of India, FTII, a national cinema awards show, and India’s first International Film Festival rocketed Bollywood to the world stage.
But a few years ago it started to become popular in Europe, and today it is rising in popularity in the US, and Canada. Today, dance schools that teach this style can be found in most major cities!
World Bollywood Day timeline
“Raja Harishchandra” becomes the first movie filmed by an Indian released for viewing in Bombay.
“Kisan Kanya” releases, largely remembered by Indians as the country’s first indigenously made color film.
Bollywood started gaining attention from people from different countries and cultures, piquing interest from Western societies.
Bollywood from the 1990s and onwards is coined as “New Bollywood” due to its reestablished atmosphere of movies and dance that mimic trends from Western society.
World Bollywood Day FAQs
Is Lollywood better than Bollywood?
Well, that depends if you talk to a Pakistani or an Indian! The fierce rivalry between neighbors India and Pakistan, in politics and on the cricket pitch, is internationally acknowledged. And yet, for decades, Bollywood has stolen the limelight, monopolizing the world’s attention. Lollywood has other ideas and it’s worth watching and listening to also!
Why is Bollywood so popular?
Bollywood films are popular because they blend a variety of themes. Additionally, one of the reasons why Bollywood has been known in the entertainment industry throughout the world is because there are many Indian or desi immigrants globally, sharing their rich culture.
Is Hollywood bigger than Bollywood?
In terms of the number of movies per year and worldwide audience, Bollywood is bigger, producing 1,000 movies in a typical year watched by a worldwide audience of 3 billion, compared to Hollywood’s 500 movies annually watched by 2.6 billion viewers worldwide.
How To Celebrate World Bollywood Day
Watch Bollywood movies!
What better way to celebrate the rich and colorful desi dance and film culture than watching some of the movies! People are literally crazy about Bollywood and we can see why. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of Bollywood films available to watch on Netflix, such as “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” with Shah Rukh Khan, “Kabir Singh” with Shahid Kapoor, and “Tanu Weds Manu” with Kangana Ranaut.
Learn some moves
Bollywood dancing is both fun and a great way to exercise! Show off to your desi friends by looking up some easy beginner steps on YouTube and practice for a few hours. From the “Thumka,” the “Pretty Much Bhangra” for boys, the “Vah-Vah-Vah” for aunties, to the “Anaconda” if you have a partner, there’s something for everyone. Don’t be embarrassed and sway those hips. Most importantly, dance while smiling and enjoy it!
Get familiar with Bollywood stars
In places such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, pretty much everyone knows Bollywood celebrities. They are the talk of the town and are the region’s version of Hollywood. Drop famous names such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Tiger Shroff, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Katrina Kaif...the list goes on! Even better, watch them in action in popular movies and dances.
5 Amazing Facts About Bollywood Dance
Telling a tale
During Bollywood dance history, mythological tales have been frequently told and performers will usually use hand gestures and other symbols to tell a cultural story.
It’s all about expression
Bollywood dance movements and steps include a significant amount of neck and head movements, as well as facial expressions, feet placements, and hand movements to assist in telling the story of the dance.
Dance as worship
Traditional Bollywood dances are religious dances that are seen as a kind of worship originally acted out in front of Hindu deities and take place during special occasions in temples.
The costumes are elaborate!
Bollywood dance costumes are essential to completing Bollywood dance routines and rhythms, which includes a lot of beautiful, heavy jewelry! Traditionally, dancers are commonly seen wearing bells around the ankle which must be in sync with the music.
Bollywood films in Kashmir
Before the conclusion of the 1980s, Bollywood dance scenes for films were shot in the luscious green region of Kashmir, but as a result of political unrest, these dance scenes are now filmed in other areas and even other countries.
Why We Love World Bollywood Day
We appreciate desi culture
Bollywood is one of the most beautiful and rich aspects of desi culture. Not only do we get to understand more about its amazing history, but there is also hardly anything more magical than being open to experience the culture of a different region. It’s cross-culture sharing, and many of our desi friends are sure to appreciate it!
It’s a fantastic exercise
Are you bored of doing the same gym routine or exercising in the same ways? Learning to dance Bollywood style is a great way to get fit while also trying something new. Dance is great for the body and mind.
Show off at a wedding!
World Bollywood Day is the day to start familiarizing yourself with Bollywood movies, celebrities and most importantly dance moves. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it so much you might want to make it your new hobby! Next time you’re invited to a desi wedding, you can show off some moves and your friends will be more than impressed.
World Bollywood Day dates