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Bollywood is magic. That's the only way to describe it. It's the Indian (Hindi) language film industry, named after Bombay (the original name for Mumbai), where it's based. The country’s biggest film producer, Bollywood beats Hollywood as the largest film industry in the world in terms of output. Not only that but it has major crossover appeal that makes its films globally popular.
What makes Bollywood so popular? It knows how to tell a good story using all sorts of elements like extravagant songs, lush locations, and larger-than-life characters and stories, things that you usually don't see in other Asian film industries or in Hollywood. It often can’t fit into just one genre because it's an expert at genre-blending — drama and comedy, action and romance, you name it. With universal themes to top it off, nothing in Hollywood can quite replicate or compare to the colors and energy of Bollywood films.
Bollywood's favorite theme overall is love. Any kind of love — romantic, friendly, familial, etc. Emotion is at the heart of everything. No one can pull at your heartstrings better than Bollywood can!
There are many wonderful actors in the industry but the name you have to know is Shahrukh Khan, one of the richest and most famous actors in the world. He's known as the King of Bollywood and the King of Romance, and for good reason (please reference GIFs below)!
Before you settle in for your official starter pack to Bollywood, here are two things to know:
1) As you watch, you'll start recognizing many of the actors. And yes, the films in the Classics section all star the same couple but you'll see why!
2) Many of the films listed below were the highest-grossing films in India at the time of their release and have been the recipients of tons of awards both domestically and internationally.