Bollywood: Did you know...?

100 Years of Bollywood Photo: ITV News Central
  • Bollywood is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a name for the Indian popular film industry, based in Mumbai (Bombay)’. It’s a blend of the words Bombay and Hollywood.
  • The longest on-screen kiss in the history of Bollywood was in a film called Karma (1933) which starred Devika Rani and her husband Himanshu Rai. The kiss lasted four minutes.
  • Mother India (1957) is hailed as one of the most important films in the industry's history. It tells the story of a poor villager who raises her family without her husband and struggles with a money-lender. The film is hugely respected for highlighting the socio-economic and political problems the country and its people faced at the time.
  • Mughal-E-Azam (1960) was a trilingual film. All scenes were shot three times - in Hindi, Tamil and English. The Hindi version was extremely popular but after the Tamil version did not enjoy the same success, the English adaptation was abandoned.
  • In 1962, British director David Lean offered Bollywood legend Dilip Kumar the role of Sherif Ali in the classic Lawrence of Arabia. Kumar declined and the role went to an Egyptian actor.
  • There were more instances of on-screen kisses from the mid 1980s onwards. Films now contain more sexual references than they have done ever in the history of Bollywood, though explicit nudity and sexual scenes are nowhere near the scale of films made in Hollywood and Europe.
  • Lagaan (2001) has the most number of British actors with significant roles in the industry's history. Among them, Shropshire-born Paul Blackthorne, who has also starred in Holby City, Peak Practice and, more recently, American drama Arrow. Lagaan, set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj, focuses on poor villagers who face taxes being doubled by their rulers. They oppose and instead accept a challenge to play cricket against the British - with the prospect of their taxes being cancelled if they are able to beat them. Blackthorne spent six months learning Hindi before filming.
  • In May, a special film produced to commemorate 100 years of Bollywood was screened at Cannes Festival. The film, Bombay Talkies, was a series of short films by well-known directors.
  • My Name Is Khan (2010) is the highest-grossing Indian film at the UK box office, taking over £3 million since its release. Male lead Shah Rukh Khan is looking to outdo himself though, with 2013's Chennai Express already having surpassed the £2 million mark since its summer release.