Today, the Hindi film industry is commonly known as Bollywood, but who coined the term Bollywood, and was it always called so?
India’s first motion picture film was released in the 1910s by Dadasaheb Phalke, but over the years, several great people contributed to the growth of the Indian film industry.
The films in the earlier decades focused more on social issues. However, after the end of the British Raj in India, Indian film industry say the emergence of the parallel cinema came, which co-existed along with the commercial Hindi films.
As years passed by, commercialization of Hindi films increased; films focused less on social issues and started becoming a means of providing the audience with an escape mechanism, that made them look away from their real life issues.
This was the beginning of Masala films in Bollywood, and the transformation of Hindi films to Bollywood.
But who coined the term Bollywood?
There are several theories as to how the word ‘Bollywood’ was coined, although its difficult to say for sure that a prominent person came up with the name.
As the number of Hindi films produced started increasing, many of these films were greatly inspired by Hollywood films. Because the American film industry was called Hollywood as most of the American filmmakers and actors resided near the place ‘Hollywood’ (its a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California).
1940s to the 1960s is also considered to be “The Golden Era” for Indian cinema due to the popularity of Bengali filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen; and the Bengla film industry was called Tollywood because most of the films were produced in the Tollygunge district.
So, it was just a matter of time before someone came up with the name Bollywood for Hindi cinema, as the Hindi film industry was centered in Bombay (now called Mumbai).
This happens to be the most popular theory.
It’s common knowledge that legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan does not like the word ‘Bollywood’ for the Hindi film industry.
Because, ‘you see the whole country of this system is juxtaposition by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity’.
Another theory is that the word “Bollywood” was first used in the 1970s by a writer of a film magazine, although there is not much agreement on this theory.