Welcome to Bollywood!

Going to the cinema in Bangalore is something else. Not only is it super cheap (compared to the UK) it is very comfortable and just a little bit retro with an intermission. PVR cinemas are common in Bangalore and they show films in Hindi, Telegu, English, Kannada and Tamil. The cinemas are contained within the shopping malls here – there are no separate cinemas like the Odeon for example. 

Tickets are sold in silver, platinum and gold. We’ve experienced silver and gold. Silver are like the premier seating in Odeon. Gold have wide, reclining seats and the more expensive ones come with waiter service for your drinks and snacks. Silver tickets cost us £3, the gold tickets cost £3 and the separate gold cinema cost £8 ( and was ridiculously luxurious). Drinks and snacks are relatively expensive in comparison to the tickets but still cheaper than the UK with 2 drinks, 2 large popcorn and a hotdog was £9.

We’ve seen films in English (obviously) but they are all sub titled in English too. The adverts and trailers are all in Hindi though, which made them pretty pointless for us. Half way through the movie there is an intermission. The intermission is sudden and not at any natural break point in the movie and nor is it faded away – the film just abruptly stops and the lights come on. Everyone quickly vacates the cinema presumably for snacks and the loo. The intermission lasts between 10-20 mins and the film starts again as abruptly as it stopped. People quickly scramble back to their seats when it does. When the film finishes everyone exits through the fire exits, always. It feels really bizarre. 

So, what is Bollywood exactly? Well, we’re still trying to work it out and we’ve not yet gone to watch a Bollywood film, but as far as we can gather Bollywood is just the Hindi film industry in Mumbai (previously Bombay hence the term Bollywood). There are various film industries in India which are both language and region specific.

Tamil language films are made in Chennai’s Kodambakkam district and is called Kollywood. (NB Chennai is currently suffering huge floods and there is a massive relief effort going on to deliver supplies and rescue people). There is a Malayam language film industry in the state of Kerala called Mollywood. Then there’s the Telegu language films from Andhra Pradesh, Tollywood, and Bengali language films from Kolkata. India has to have one of the biggest films industries in the world and Bollywood leads the way as regards influence and box office sales.

One thing we have noticed already in Indian is the heavy editing of the films to remove any physical intimacy, even kissing. Public displays of affection here are frowned upon and movies reflect that attitude. We recently went to see the new James Bond film Spectre and all the romantic scenes had been edited out completely.

We’ve seen the listings for the Bollywood films (and I include all the film types in that phrase for ease) and the films all seem to be really long. I mean really long too – over 3 hours. Which sort of explains the intermission- you’re going to need one in a 3 hour movie but they add it in for every movie even when one isn’t required. 

When we’ve been brave enough to venture into a Bollywood movie screening (with subtitles) I’ll post again. For now we’re going to try and catch up on the movie releases we’ve missed in the UK (although they seem to be released here a month or so after the UK so we should be able to see some). Bring on the popcorn and comfy seats!

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