Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jayanth. Jayanth Wonders, “where is Bollywood?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jayanth!

Do you like movies? Who doesn't, right? Do you prefer action movies? Perhaps you like dramas. Maybe a good comedy is right up your alley. If song and dance is more your style, a musical might be your choice when it comes to seeing a movie.

In the United States, one place and name is synonymous with movies. What is it? Hollywood, of course! That's where the motion picture industry in America took off, and many movie studios still call it home today.

But what about the rest of the world? Do other countries make movies? You bet they do! Today's Wonder of the Day is going to take a closer look at one country in particular: India.

India's national cinema industry goes by a much more popular name: Bollywood. The name is obviously a play on the word Hollywood. The “B" comes from the Indian city of Bombay, which is now called Mumbai. In addition to Bollywood, India's national move industry is also often referred to as Hindi cinema.

Bollywood refers specifically to those films that feature the Hindi language. Although some people use the term to refer to Indian cinema in general, there are actually many other locations in India with large film production centers that focus on other languages and subcultures.

The name Bollywood became popular in the 1970s. However, Indian filmmaking began long before then. In fact, the first ever Indian film was a silent feature named Raja Harishchandra.

Today, people don't think of Bollywood as a place as much as it is a style of film. When people hear the name Bollywood, they think of lavish movies filmed in exotic locations starring beautiful people who execute flawless musical numbers.

Modern Bollywood films are called masala films. Masala is a Hindi word that means “spice mixture." This describes the movie formula that was created in the 1970s by famous Indian director Manmohan Desai: a mixture of action, comedy and melodrama with about six song and dance numbers thrown into the mix.

Desai explained his reasoning behind this model like this: “I want people to forget their misery. I want to take them into a dream world where there is no poverty, where there are no beggars, where fate is kind and god is busy looking after his flock."

His approach has worked. The movie industry in India is one of the country's most powerful and profitable industries. In fact, Bollywood has surpassed Hollywood in terms of both the number of films made annually and audience attendance!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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