Dating back to , "Tollywood" was the earliest Hollywood-inspired name , referring to the Bengali film industry based in Tollygunge in Calcutta , West Bengal , whose name is reminiscent of "Hollywood" and was the centre of the cinema of India at the time.
The name "Tollywood" went on to be used as a nickname for the Bengali film industry by the popular Calcutta-based Junior Statesman youth magazine, establishing a precedent for other film industries to use similar-sounding names, eventually leading to the coining of "Bollywood". The term "Bollywood" itself has origins in the s, when India overtook the United States as the world's largest film producer.
Credit for the term has been claimed by several different people, including the lyricist, filmmaker and scholar Amit Khanna,  and the journalist Bevinda Collaco.
Some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood. By the s, the industry was producing over films per annum. The s and s were tumultuous times: Most Bollywood films were unabashedly escapist , but there were also a number of filmmakers who tackled tough social issues, or used the struggle for Indian independence as a backdrop for their plots.
The next year, he made another colour film, a version of Mother India. However, colour did not become a popular feature until the late s. At this time, lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were the staple fare at the cinema.
Prior to the partition of India , which was divided into the Republic of India and Pakistan , the Bombay film industry now called Bollywood was closely to the Lahore film industry now the Lollywood industry of Pakistani cinema , as both produced films in Hindi-Urdu , or Hindustani , the lingua franca across northern and central India.
In the s, many actors, filmmakers and musicians in the Lahore industry migrated to the Bombay industry, including actors such as K. Around that time, filmmakers and actors from the Bengali film industry based in Calcutta now Kolkata also began migrating to the Bombay film industry, which for decades after partition would be dominated by actors, filmmakers and musicians with origins in what is today Pakistani Punjab , along with those from Bengal.
These films expressed social themes mainly dealing with working-class life in India , particularly urban life in the former two examples; Awaara presented the city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city life. Asif 's Mughal-e-Azam Kapoor and Kumar are among the greatest and most influential movie stars in the history of Indian cinema,   while Nargis is one of its greatest actresses. Kapoor followed the " tramp " style of Charlie Chaplin , Anand modelled himself after the "suave" style of Hollywood movie stars like Gregory Peck and Cary Grant , and Kumar pioneered a form of method acting that was similar to yet predated Hollywood method actors such as Marlon Brando.
Kumar, who was described as "the ultimate method actor" by Satyajit Ray and is considered one of India's greatest actors, inspired future generations of Indian actors; much like Brando's influence on Robert De Niro and Al Pacino , Kumar had a similar influence on later Indian actors such as Amitabh Bachchan , Naseeruddin Shah , Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
The movement emphasized social realism. Their critical acclaim, as well as the latter's commercial success, paved the way for Indian neorealism  and the Indian New Wave. He was the first Indian actor to be referred to as a " superstar ", starring in 15 consecutive solo hit films from to Ever since the social realist film Neecha Nagar won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival ,  Hindi films were frequently in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival throughout the s and early s, with some of them winning major prizes at the festival.
Asif 's Mughal-e-Azam all tied at No. Classic Bollywood s—s The screenwriting duo Salim-Javed , consisting of Salim Khan l and Javed Akhtar r , revolutionized Indian cinema in the s,  and are considered Bollywood's greatest screenwriters. The most successful Indian actor during the s—s, he is considered one of India's greatest and most influential movie stars. The writing of Salim-Javed and acting of Amitabh Bachchan popularized the trend, with films such as Zanjeer and particularly Deewaar, a crime film inspired by Gunga Jumna  that pitted "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan " portrayed by Bachchan; Deewaar was described as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema" by Danny Boyle.
The masala film was pioneered in the early s by filmmaker Nasir Hussain ,  along with screenwriter duo Salim-Javed,  pioneering the Bollywood blockbuster format. Manmohan Desai went on to successfully exploit the genre in the s and s. Both these trends, the masala film and the violent crime film, are represented by the blockbuster Sholay , written by Salim-Javed and starring Amitabh Bachchan. It combined the dacoit film conventions of Mother India and Gunga Jumna with that of Spaghetti Westerns , spawning the Dacoit Western genre also known as the " Curry Western " , which was popular in the s.
The s thus saw the rise of commercial cinema in the form of enduring films such as Sholay , which consolidated Amitabh Bachchan 's position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released in He was the most successful Indian actor for most of the s and s. He has been the most successful Indian actor since the late s. Its blend of youthfulness, wholesome entertainment, emotional quotients and strong melodies lured family audiences back to the big screen. This decade also marked the entry of new performers in arthouse and independent films, some of which succeeded commercially, the most influential example being Satya , directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap.
The critical and commercial success of Satya led to the emergence of a distinct genre known as Mumbai noir ,  urban films reflecting social problems in the city of Mumbai. Since the s, the three biggest Bollywood movie stars have been the " Three Khans ": The three Khans have had successful careers since the late s,  and have dominated the Indian box office since the s,  across three decades.
A fast growth in the Indian economy and a demand for quality entertainment in this era, led the nation's film-making to new heights in terms of production values, cinematography and innovative story lines as well as technical advances in areas such as special effects and animation. Pyaar Hai , Gadar: Ek Prem Katha , Lagaan , Koi Mil Gaya , Munna Bhai M.
These films were often not the subject of critical acclaim, but were nonetheless major commercial successes. On the other hand, Aamir Khan has been credited for redefining and modernizing the masala film which originated from his uncle Nasir Hussain's Yaadon Ki Baarat, which he first appeared in with his own distinct brand of socially conscious cinema in the early 21st century.
Kareena Kapoor and Bipasha Basu are among the few working actresses from the s who successfully completed 15 years in the industry. Influences for Bollywood Moti Gokulsing and Wimal Dissanayake identify six major influences that have shaped the conventions of Indian popular cinema: Examples of this influence include the techniques of a side story , back-story and story within a story.
Indian popular films often have plots which branch off into sub-plots; such narrative dispersals can clearly be seen in the films Khalnayak and Gardish. The Parsi plays contained crude humour, melodious songs and music, sensationalism and dazzling stagecraft. Indian filmmakers, while enhancing the elements of fantasy so pervasive in Indian popular films, used song and music as a natural mode of articulation in a given situation in their films. There is a strong Indian tradition of narrating mythology, history, fairy stories and so on through song and dance.
However, they demonstrated how this creation intersected with people's day to day lives in complex and interesting ways. An early example of this approach was in Mani Ratnam 's Bombay In the early 20th century, Urdu was the lingua franca of popular cultural performances across northern India, established in popular performance art traditions such as nautch dancing, Urdu poetry , and Parsi theater.
Urdu and related Hindi dialects were the most widely understood across northern India, thus Hindi-Urdu became the standardized language of early Indian talkies. The One Thousand and One Nights Arabian Nights also had a strong influence, on Parsi theater which performed " Persianate adventure-romances" that were adapted into films, and on early Bombay cinema where "Arabian Nights cinema" was a popular genre.
Bollywood has influenced Indian society and culture for a long time. For many decades, Bollywood has influenced daily life and culture in India, where it has been the biggest entertainment industry. Many of the musical, dancing, wedding and fashion trends in India, for example, have been influenced by Bollywood.