Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014



HAPPY NEW YEAR from everyone here at the DUNER BLOG!

The weekend box-office numbers from India are in!  Including international revenue, DHOOM 3 became the first Bollywood movie ever to cross the elusive Five-Billion-Rupee (US$800 million) mark.  The action-comedy, staring heartthrob sensation Aamir Khan, completes the Dhoom Trilogy about a Mumbai cop (and his hilarious sidekick) who solve crimes around the world. 

We here at the DUNER BLOG are big-time Bollywood fans and saw the thriller at a local Cineplex. Afterward, we though we'd answer some of the many Bollywood questions in our mailbox..

Why do all Bollywood movies have so much singing and dancingMohammed H., Cairo Egypt.
Two reasons:  First, Bollywood movies...like much Hindi theater...are based on Sanskrit drama.  These ancient performances placed heavy emphasis on the spectacle of song and dance.  Another reason involves the 'Golden Age' of Indian cinema during the 1950's and '60's.  As with the genre's cousin in Hollywood, this was the age of the musical.  It was so popular in India, it never really left movies.

Does Bollywood have an Academy Award show like in the US?  Hector M., Santiago Chile.
Of course they do!  It's called the FILMFARE AWARDS.  It dates back to 1954 and every year it becomes more and more like the Oscars in California.  The Red Carpet is packed with paparazzi.  The ladies wear glamorous gowns; the gentlemen don tuxedos.  The ceremony is filled with long-winded speeches.  Even the FANFARE AWARD statue looks a bit like Oscar! 

Who are the most famous Bollywood actors and actresses?  Simon L., Saskatoon, Canada.
Difficult question, Simon!  The first names that come to mind are Raj Kapoor and Meena Kumari, from the fore-mentioned Golden Age.  However, a more accurate answer would come from the FILMARE AWARDS.  Thankfully, someone in India came up with a formula.  It gives 3 points for Best Actor, two for Supporting Roles and one for 'Best Villain."  Under this format, Shahrukh Khan leads the pack with 10 points.  On the ladies side, actress Rani Mukriji tops the list.

I read that Bollywood produces ten times as many movies as Hollywood.  Is this true?  Zachary O., Perth, Australia.
While some 800 films were made in India last year, only a small percentage can be considered actual Bollywood movies.  Only a handful of studios can produce the budgets, stars and production costs to be called a true Bollywood film.  How can you tell?  Make sure they are from Yash Raj Films, or Dharma Productions.

Aren't all Bollywood movies just plagiarized from US films?  Giovanni I., Salerno Italy.
Pretty much, Giovanni!  For the first fifty years of their existence, Bollywood movies were almost completely unknown outside of the subcontinent.  This meant that many screenwriters were able to borrow rampantly from other sources, without notice.  However...in the last ten years...international interest in the genre has multiplied.  This means lawsuits for Bollywood in the future.  Even the movie Dhoom 3 seems a lot like Fast & the Furious movies.  Hmm...

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