Bollywood by the Numbers

What comes to mind when you think of Bollywood? The glitz and glamour, the elaborate song-and-dance numbers, the over-the-top drama? Yes, all of that is part of what makes Bollywood so unique and popular around the world. But did you know that there is more to Bollywood than just entertainment value? In this blog post, we will take a look at some interesting statistics about Bollywood.

Background

Bollywood is a famous term used to refer to the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, India. The word Bollywood is coined from “Bombay” and “Hollywood.” Bollywood is the largest and leading film producer in India and one of the largest in the world.

Bollywood films are characterized by colorful costumes, lavish sets, and melodramatic plots. They often include song-and-dance numbers, which are an important part of Indian culture.

Masala film is the term used to describe the popular Bollywood genre that is a mix of action, comedy, romance, and drama.

Bollywood is part of a larger film industry called the Cinema of India, which includes other regional film industries, such as Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Punjabi. In 2016, Cinema of India was considered the largest film producer in the world in terms of quantity. [1]

Bollywood films are famous not only in India but also in other countries, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, and the Netherlands. [2]

History of Bollywood

Bollywood has a rich history that started in the 20th century. From Bollywood’s humble beginnings up to the modern day, the Hindi film industry has continued to evolve and grow. The rapid advancement of Hindi films has led to their skyrocketing popularity not just in India but also on a global scale.

Early Years of Bollywood

The first full-length Indian film was released in 1913 and was called Raja Harishchandra. It was a silent film that was released on May 3, 1913, with a running time of forty minutes.

This film was directed and produced by Dadasaheb Phalke – who is known as “the Father of Indian cinema.” The film was undoubtedly a commercial success and helped establish India’s film industry, mainly Bollywood.

After the success of Raja Harishchandra, other Indian filmmakers started to produce their own films. By the 1930s, the Indian film industry was producing more than two hundred films annually. [3]

In 1931, the iconic filmmaker of the Indian silent film era, Ardeshir Irani, released Alam Ara – which is considered to be India’s first sound film. It starred Master Vithal and Zubeida, which were both among the pioneers in the industry.

The film was a commercial success and helped further establish Bollywood in India. Alam Ara helped build the foundations of modern musicals in Bollywood films.

As the film industry in India continued to grow, the country encountered a series of problems in the 1930s, mainly due to the Great Depression, World War 2, Indian Independence, and the violence of the Partition. These series of events led to a decline in the Indian film industry. Filmmakers were forced to shift to a more serious tone in their films that were based on social issues.

Despite the turmoil in the 1930s, Bollywood continued to produce films. In 1937, Ardeshir Irani made the first color film in Hindi, Kisan Kanya. However, color failed to attract the audiences, and this film didn’t gain commercial success as viewers chose traditional musicals and melodramas.

Golden Age of Bollywood

Interestingly, after a decade of downfall, the 1940s is often considered the “Golden Age” of Bollywood and Indian cinema as a whole. This peak lasted up to the 1960s, and within this period, many iconic and influential filmmakers, actors, and actresses emerged.

Among the most notable films during this time were Gyan Mukherjee’s Kismet (1943), Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa, Raj Kapoor’s Awaara; and Mehboob Khan’s Mother India (1957) – which is considered one of the greatest films ever made in India.

In addition, Mother India was the first Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Awards in 1958 in the Best Foreign Language Film category. [4] Although it didn’t win, Mother India was a critical and commercial success that boosted Bollywood’s reputation globally. Furthermore, it received several awards in the Filmfare Awards 1958, including Best Film, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, and Best Sound Recordist.

In the 1960s, the Indian film industry continued to produce successful films. The 1960s is known for having the three most popular male Indian actors: Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, and Dev Anand. Along with the popularity of these actors was the introduction of two major film genres: action and romance; this period marks the beginning of Modern Bollywood cinema. [3]

Early Modern Bollywood Cinema

In the early 1970s, Bollywood films were mainly dominated by the musical romance genre. It was until the mid-70s that Bollywood shifted into gangster and crime movies, which had overtaken the musical romance genre.

In addition to crime movies, the word “Bollywood” was coined in the 1970s. Amit Khanna is an Indian film producer and director who is credited for coining the word. [5] The word “Bollywood” is a blend of “Bombay” (the former name of Mumbai) and “Hollywood.”

Because of Indians’ love for musical romance and action, filmmakers in the 1970s thought of combining these genres together, the result was the “masala film,” which was a mixture of action, comedy, romance, drama, melodrama, and musical.

The first masala film was “Yaadon Ki Baraat,” which was directed by Nasir Hussain. The film was a commercial success and led to the production of more masala films in the following years.

The popularity of masala films in the 1970s gave actor “Amitabh Bachchan” recognition as one of the biggest stars of the decade. He starred in several masala films such as “Deewaar,” “Sholay,” and ” Amar Akbar Anthony.”

The 1980s is considered the second “Golden Age” of Bollywood. This was the decade when Bollywood became more globally recognized and accepted with the film Salaam Bombay (1988), which won the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 1988. The film was also a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the same year. [6]

In addition, the 1980s was also the period where Bollywood started to use bigger production budgets and more lavish sets. Among the most notable films during this time is “Mr. India” (1987), which is considered one of the biggest blockbusters in Bollywood history. The film had a production budget of ₹38 million (US$2.93 million), which was a big deal in the 80s.

Modern Bollywood Cinema

The end of the 1980s saw a box-office decline due to the increased violence in films, along with the bad musical quality in films. Interestingly, Bollywood quickly went back to its former glory after filmmakers switched back to musical romance movies, such as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988).

The 1990s is known as “New Bollywood.” This was the decade where musical romance films went back to being the main genre in Bollywood, wherein filmmakers also introduced family-centered concepts, which were enjoyed by the fans.

The late 1990s introduced a new generation of prominent Bollywood actors, namely the three Khans: Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Salman Khan. The three Khans dominated the industry for three decades since the late 1980s, skyrocketing their careers in the 1990s and making them among the top actors in Bollywood today.

Fast-forward to the 2000s, Bollywood continued to grow and gained more recognition worldwide. This growth could be attributed to the increasing number of Indians living outside of India, which resulted in the higher demand for Bollywood films. The greater demand for such films also led to an increase in revenue, allowing filmmakers to significantly heighten the overall production quality.

Some of the most popular Hindi films in the 2000s are “Lagaan” (2001), “Dhoom 2,” and “3 Idiots.” “Lagaan” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the third Hindi film to ever receive such recognition.

Today, Bollywood continues to produce musical romance films that are enjoyed by fans all over the world. The genre has gone through several changes throughout the years, but the core concept remains the same.

Top Bollywood Movies

Bollywood has undoubtedly produced some of the best movies not just in India but also around the globe. The top Bollywood movies reflect the diversity of the culture and manage to entertain people from all walks of life.

Continue reading this section to learn more about the top movies Bollywood has to offer.

Highest Grossing Bollywood Movies

Bollywood has a solid list of top-grossing films, showcasing a mixture of masala films and other genres. These highest-grossing Bollywood movies prove their unmatched popularity not just in India but also in other countries.

Here are the highest-grossing Bollywood movies:

Highest Grossing Bollywood Movies

Rank

Title

Year

Worldwide Gross

1

Dangal

2016

₹2,024 crore

2

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

2015

₹969.06 crore

3

Secret Superstar

2017

₹966.86 crore

4

PK

2014

₹854 crore

5

Sultan

2016

₹623.33 crore

6

Sanju

2018

₹586.85 crore

7

Padmaavat

2018

₹585 crore

8

Tiger Zinda Hai

2018

₹565.1 crore

9

Dhoom 3

2013

₹556 crore

10

War

2019

₹475.5 crore

A crore equals ten million Indian rupees.

Most Popular Bollywood Movies

In addition to the highest-grossing Bollywood movies, there is also a list of popular Bollywood films that have managed to make a mark in the industry. These movies are considered timeless classics and have managed to entertain audiences for years.

Here are the most popular Bollywood movies:

Most Popular Bollywood Movies
Title Year
Mother India 1957
Dangal 2016
3 Idiots 2009
Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India 2001
Sholay 1975
Pyaasa 1957
Queen 2014
Panga 2020
Salaam Bombay! 1988
Mr. India 1987
PK 2014

Top Bollywood Studios

For Bollywood to be able to produce some of the most entertaining movies, there must be studios that support the filmmaking process. These top Bollywood studios are responsible for bringing some of the greatest hits to life, and they continue to support the industry in different ways.

Here are the top movie studios in Bollywood:

UTV Motion Pictures

This film studio was established in 1996 by Ronnie Screwvala and Zarina Screwvala. Since its founding, it has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies. This motion picture company is considered one of the leading film studios in India and among the largest in South Asia.

Furthermore, UTV Motion Pictures is a distribution label of Disney India. It has also produced several live-action Hindi films based on Disney properties.

Here are some of the films produced by UTV Motion Pictures:

  • Haider
  • Dangal
  • Jagga Jasoos
  • Barfi!
  • Harishchandrachi Factory

Reliance Entertainment

This studio was established in 2005 and headed by Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani. It is one of the largest production houses in India and has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies.

Reliance Entertainment has distributed, produced, and financed several Bollywood films, including:

  • Ghajini
  • Kites
  • War Horse

Dharma Productions

This studio was founded by Yash Johar in 1979. Dharma Productions is one of the leading film production companies in India and has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies. Yash Johar’s son, Karan Johar, took over as the company owner after the former’s death in 2004.

Here are some of the notable films produced by Dharma Productions:

  • Dostana
  • Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
  • Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
  • Kal Ho Naa Ho
  • Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
  • Student of the Year

Red Chillies Entertainment

This studio was established in 2002 by Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan. It was formerly known as Dreamz Unlimited 1999. The company has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies, as well as television shows and web series.

Red Chillies Entertainment, or RCE, is famous for its stunning visual effects. The company opened as a visual effects studio called Red Chillies VFX.

Here are some of the notable films produced by Red Chillies Entertainment:

  • Paheli
  • Om Shanti Om
  • Ra.One
  • Chennai Express
  • Class of ’83

Vinod Chopra Films

Vinod Chopra Films is one of the most popular production studios in Bollywood. The company was founded by the iconic filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra in 1985. It has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies that have gained worldwide recognition.

Some of the notable works of Vinod Chopra include:

  • 3 Idiots
  • PK
  • Parinda
  • 1942: A Love Story
  • Sanju
  • Laga

Yash Raj Films

This studio was founded by Yash Chopra in 1970. It is one of the leading and largest film production and distribution companies in India. Yash Raj Films focuses on producing Hindi films but is also known for making Punjabi movies.

Yash Raj Films produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies in the 2000s. These films include:

  • Dhoom
  • Dhoom 2
  • Fanaa
  • Bunty Aur Babli
  • Veer- Zaara
  • Mohabbatein
  • Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Aamir Khan Productions

Aamir Khan is among the most popular actors in Bollywood. After soaring in his acting career, he began to venture as a producer and started his own production company – Aamir Khan Productions. The company was established in 1999 and has produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies.

Some of the notable films produced by Aamir Khan Productions are:

  • Lagaan
  • Taare Zameen Par
  • Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na
  • Delhi Belly
  • Dangal
  • Secret Superstar

Excel Entertainment

Excel Entertainment is a Bollywood motion picture company founded by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani in 1999. The studio is known for producing the first Indian original series for Amazon Prime Video – Inside Edge. The film was nominated for the Best Drama Series at the 48th International Emmy Awards. [7]

Besides the success of Inside Edge, Excel Entertainment has also produced some of the most popular Bollywood movies. Here are some of their notable films:

  • Dil Chatha Hai
  • Rock On!!
  • Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
  • Don
  • Fukrey
  • Raees
  • Dil Dhadakne Do
  • Gully Boy

Star Studios

Star Studios (formerly known as Fox Star Studios) is a subsidiary of Disney Star, which is a part of The Walt Disney Company. The studio was established in 2008 and has distributed, produced, and financed several Bollywood films.

Some of the notable films produced by Star Studios include:

  • M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story
  • Chhichhore
  • Chhapaak
  • Panga
  • Baaghi 3
  • Dil Bechara
  • Lootcase
  • Sadak 2
  • Laxmii

Eros International

Eros International is one of the leading motion picture studios in Bollywood. The company was founded by Arjan Lulla and Kishore Lulla in 1977 and has produced, distributed, and acquired over 12,000 films in various Indian languages. [8]

Some of the notable films produced by Eros International are:

  • Bajrangi Bhaijaan
  • Ghar
  • Shaan
  • Vaada Raha
  • Banjo

Top Bollywood Actors and Actresses

Bollywood is known for its glamorous actors and actresses. Because of its fast-growing market and popularity, over one thousand films are being produced each year in Bollywood. [9] With this said, the industry has also produced world-class actors and actresses that have gone on to be successful in Bollywood.

Top Earning Bollywood Actors

With all the great actors and actresses in Bollywood, there are some that have risen to the top. Here are some of the top Bollywood actors, based on their earnings:

  • Anil Kapoor: 10 Crore per film
  • Amitabh Bachchan: 12 Crore per film
  • Saif Ali Khan: 10 Crore per film
  • Vicky Kaushal: 15 Crore per film
  • Ayushman Khurrana: 15 Crore per film
  • John Abraham: 20 Crore per film
  • Kartik Aryan: 20 Crore per film
  • Varun Dhawan: 35 Crore per film
  • Shahid Kapoor: 38 Crore per film
  • Ranveer Singh: 50 Crore per film
  • Ajay Devgn: 35 Crore + 50% share in profits per film
  • Ranbir Kapoor: 70 Crore per film
  • Hrithik Roshan: 75 Crore + 50% share in profits per film
  • Aamir Khan: 80 Crore + 75% share in profits per film
  • Shahrukh Khan: 85 Crore + 60% share in profits per film
  • Salman Khan: 100 Crore + 70% share in profits per film
  • Akshay Kumar: 72-135 Crore per film

Top Earning Bollywood Actresses

Interestingly, Bollywood also has a solid roster of top actresses that have earned their spot in the industry. Here are some of the top Bollywood actresses, based on their earnings:

  • Ananya Pandery: 1.5 Crore per film
  • Taapsee Pannu: 2 Crore per film
  • Janhvi Kapoor: 2 Crore per film
  • Disha Patani: 2 Crore per film
  • Sara Ali Khan: 2 Crore per film
  • Jacqueline Fernandez: 2.5 Crore per film
  • Vidya Balan: 4 Crore per film
  • Bhumi Pednekar: 4 Crore per film
  • Kriti Sanon: 4 Crore per film
  • Kiara Advani: 5 Crore per film
  • Shraddha Kapoor: 7 Crore per film
  • Anushka Sharma: 8 Crore per film
  • Kareena Kapoor: 12 Crore per film
  • Katrina Kaif: 12 Crore per film
  • Priyanka Chopra: 14 Crore per film
  • Kangana Ranaut: 15 Crore per film
  • Alia Bhatt: 20 Crore per film
  • Deepika Padukone: 22 Crore per film

20 Interesting Facts About Bollywood

Bollywood is not just about actors and actresses; it is also a business. And like any other business, it is also full of mysteries and interesting facts. Here are some of them:

  1. Kareena Kapoor wore over 130 different outfits in the movie “Heroine.” The dresses she wore were made by top fashion designers from all over the world. [10]
  2. Kareena Kapoor’s costume budget in the film Heroine costs Rs 1.5 crore (approx. $184,000). [11]
  3. Brahmastra Part One: Shiva is reportedly the most expensive Bollywood film ever. The film was released in 2022 with a production budget of Rs 410 crore. [12]
  4. Aamir Khan’s film Lagaan is known to have the largest number of British actors in the history of Bollywood.
  5. Filmmakers shot the film “Rockstar” in reverse to prevent messing with Ranbir Kapoor’s hairstyle.
  6. International artists Snoop Dogg and Pitbull are known to have recorded some Bollywood songs in 2009 and 2013. This move was made by Bollywood to attract more Western audiences.
  7. The film “Kaho Naa Pyar Hai,” starred by Hrithik Roshan, was included in the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records for setting the record for the most number of movie awards – with a whopping 92 awards.
  8. The film “Mother India” was the first Indian movie to be nominated for an Oscar Award.
  9. Indian films have an established fan base in the Middle East and Africa.
  10. “Alam Ara” was the first talkie movie in India. It was released in 1931. [13]
  11. The iconic director, Manmohan Desai, is known as the father of Masala films in Bollywood.
  12. Tom Cruise was once considered for the role of Raj Malhotra in the Bollywood film “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,” but the filmmakers later decided to give the role to Shahrukh Khan.
  13. Shahrukh Khan is also known as the “King of Bollywood,” mainly because of his exceptional acting skills and expertise.
  14. Aamir Khan is also called “Mr. Perfectionist” of Bollywood because of his passionate and meticulous methods when it comes to acting and directing.
  15. Devika Rani was the first Bollywood actress with a degree in film-making.
  16. “Ab Tumhare Hawala Watan Saathiyon” was the longest Hindi film song featured in the movie of the same name. The song has a length of twenty minutes and was shown in the film by part.
  17. Several Bollywood movies are available on Netflix.
  18. Rural villages use some Bollywood songs to increase their literacy rates. [14]
  19. The actor Ranveer Singh is the cousin of actress Sonam Kapoor.
  20. Dilip Kumar established himself as the ultimate method actor. His methods have inspired future Indian actors.

Final Thoughts

Bollywood is undoubtedly one of the most popular and fascinating industries in the world. From its humble beginnings to its current state, Bollywood has come a long way. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. So, if you’re ever in the mood for a good movie, make sure to check out a Bollywood film. You might just be surprised by what you see.

References

[1] Largest Film Industries In The World. WorldAtlas. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/largest-film-industries-in-the-world.html

[2] Bollywood movies have become more popular in countries all around the globe. TECXIPIO. https://www.tecxipio.com/single-post/market-research-tool-overseas-markets-for-bollywood-movies

[3] History of Bollywood – Indian Cinema. History of Film. http://www.historyoffilm.net/movie-eras/history-of-bollywood/

[4] Which was the 1st Indian film to be nominated for Oscars. inshorts. https://inshorts.com/en/news/which-was-the-1st-indian-film-to-be-nominated-for-oscars-1520134191892

[5] When Sr Bachchan Angrily Asked…’: The Man Who Gave ‘Bollywood’ its Name Shares How Indian Media Became a Brand. News18. https://www.news18.com/news/india/when-sr-bachchan-angrily-asked-man-who-gave-bollywood-its-name-shares-how-indian-media-became-brand-2431941.html

[6] Salaam Bombay! Awards. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096028/awards/

[7] Inside Edge Awards. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6112414/awards/

[8] Eros Now Announces its Biggest Content Slate, Underpinning Growth in the OTT Sector. BusinessWire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201211005363/en/%C2%A0Eros-Now-Announces-its-Biggest-Content-Slate-Underpinning-Growth-in-the-OTT-Sector

[9] What Is Bollywood? A Brief History of Bollywood Films. MasterClass. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-bollywood

[10] 25 Amazing Bollywood Facts You Have Probably Never Have Heard. ScoopWhoop. https://www.scoopwhoop.com/entertainment/wtf-bollywood-facts/

[11] Kareena’s Heroine costumes cost Rs 1.5 crore!. Rediff Movies. https://www.rediff.com/movies/slide-show/slide-show-1-kareenas-costume-budget-for-heroine-is-rs-1-5-crore/20120504.htm

[12] ‘Brahmastra’ Is Reportedly The Most Expensive Hindi Movie Ever; Ranbir Kapoor Starrer Made On THIS Whopping Budget. MashableIndia. https://in.mashable.com/entertainment/37845/brahmastra-is-reportedly-the-most-expensive-hindi-movie-ever-ranbir-kapoor-starrer-made-on-this-whop

[13] 35 Facts About Bollywood That You Haven’t Heard About. Kidadl. https://kidadl.com/facts/facts-about-bollywood-that-you-haven-t-heard-about

[14] 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bollywood. Sonoma State University. https://news.sonoma.edu/article/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-bollywood