Most Bollywood movies are in Hindi (most offer subtitles), while Hollywood movies are in English. But are there other differences between the two types of cinema? Yes, and it has to do with a lot more than just the language differences.
Indians like to do things in groups. I know that is a stereotype, and there are Indians who prefer to be loners, but for the most part, Indians are a very social people. When they go to a movie, they like to take their whole family, so that everyone can enjoy the experience. Everyone goes together- the grandparents, the aunts and uncles, the parents, and the kids. Everyone.
As a result, each movie has to cater to a general audience. In order to please everyone, it has to include everything, such as comedy, drama, romance, action (including violence and car crashes), suspense, morals, even music and dancing. Because there is so much to incorporate, sometimes the movie seems sloppily put together to fit all the different elements. Bollywood movies also tend to be longer, three hours at least, and include an intermission in the middle so people can meet other moviegoers and buy more popcorn.
One thing Bollywood movies do not have, is nudity and sex. Most of them don't even have kissing, although new ones are pushing the envelope on that one.
Hollywood movies got their rating system early, in 1922. As a result, Hollywood producers were able to customize their movies to specific audiences. They could have a movie that was geared towards children, although they did learn to make sure it was interesting enough for the adults as well. More importantly, they could gear movies towards adults without having to worry about keeping it tame enough for the children.
Because the movies could specialize into different genres, producers were able to hone their craft to meet a particular type of audience. The action movies could be all action, with a little bit of drama thrown in just to have a plot. The romance movies didn't have to have any big action scenes. It is also a lot easier to present a more coherent plot line.
So when I saw this photo in another article, I was outraged. (It was cropped so you couldn't see his jeans). I immediately recognized the superstar Hrithik Roshan, and figured it was a still from a movie, but that woman was topless, and it looks like a sex scene, a very explicit one, something a Bollywood movie just can't have!
In the interest of research, and article writing, I decided I needed to find this movie and watch it, so I could report my findings to you.
The movie is called Kites, and as luck would have it, the case includes both a Hollywood and a Bollywood version of the same movie. Of course, this means I will have to devote more time to watch two movies, but I was willing to sacrifice my time in watching Hrithik twice just for you.
The movie is about a man, Jay, who is a Las Vegas hustler. He finds a rich woman, and becomes engaged to her. She is a daughter of the most powerful and dangerous casino owner in the city. He meets a Mexican illegal immigrant, Natasha, who is engaged to his fiancé’s violent brother. When the brother finds out Jay has fallen in love with Natasha, they wind up having to flee for the Mexican border.
The movie is mostly in English, but Hindi and Spanish is also spoken, with subtitles. I really enjoyed the movie. It does have everything that I like about Bollywood movies, romance, drama, and a bit of comedy. The plot was really good, especially for a Bollywood movie. Both the stars are beautiful and nice to watch. There are lots of cars flying and crashing. The fight scenes are realistic enough, although I think Hollywood movies make more believable fight scenes.
At the start of the movie, while the credits are rolling, the movie starts out with a shot of some kites flying and Hrithik is saying something about how Kites can meet, but in the end the strings are being controlled by someone else. The movie starts with a shot of him falling out of a train car in bad condition. Love the beard! The movie flashes back and forth to to explain how he got to the train car, and what he does afterwards. It is a well organized movie, so it is not difficult to keep up with what is going on.
There is only one dance in the Bollywood version, but it is not an Indian dance, and I didn't care for it at all. There were two other songs, without dancing, but the actors did not sing along. I did enjoy those parts. I don't care for the actors singing along, especially if they do the lip syncing badly.
There is kissing in this version. I have noticed that when there is kissing in the Hindi movies I have seen, the actress never portrays a Hindu woman. She is always some other religion or some other race.
Overall, I didn't find the movie to be particularly long; it was about two hours, 123 minutes according to the box.
The Hollywood version of the movie was different right from the start. What was narrated while the kites were flying was different - shorter, less poetic. It said that all kites fall down. Maybe it was to replace the foreshadowing that was cut out from this version. In the foreshadowing, the brother and father kill someone and ask Jay to do the same. I think it was an important part to show the brother and father as ruthless evil men.
There were many things that were cut out of the movie. The dance was cut out, which was a good thing, but other parts, like the foreshadowing scene were also cut out. There were also things that were cut out that wouldn't have made the movie longer. There were fewer explanations and less narration. Some of the Hindi scenes were also cut out, so you get a different feel of the relationship between Jay and the other men in the movies - the sidekick in Las Vegas, the chauffeur, and the guy whose car they stole.
It almost seemed like they tried to cut out as many Hindi scenes as they could, without much regard to their purpose in the plot. I wish I had watched the Hollywood version first, to see if the whole story still made sense with all of the things that had been cut out.
I was surprised that they didn't cut out the other two songs, although they did change the songs. The Bollywood version had better songs, but even they weren't noteworthy.
The only thing that was added to the Hollywood version was a few more seconds to the sex scene - the one that shows Natasha topless for example. It is a rated R movie, so it doesn't go more than that. The kissing was stilted and not all that believable, but because both of their bodies are beautiful, it wasn't unpleasing to watch.
Personally, I liked the Bollywood version much better, because the Hollywood version seemed like it was missing a lot. Just skip over the dance, and it will be shorter. The Hollywood version was 92 minutes. You'll get the story either way, but it is a much richer experience with the full version. Just see how the narration changed during the first scene and you will see the difference.
The narration during the first scene with the kites flying is listed.
Bollywood version (English translation):
Kites fly in the sky
Free dancing in the wind
With no worries
Like two lovers, they meet, they fight
They almost become one
But it is not the will of the kites that make them dance
Cause someone else always holds the strings.
Hollywood version, spoken in English
There's a special beauty to kites
Dancing with one another
It’s a fleeting dance
But it ignores a certain fall to the ground
There you have it, Hollywood movies are:
- more coherent plotline
- more specialized
- geared to adult audience with kissing and more sexual energy
Bollywood movies, on the other hand have:
- a wider audience
- more romantic
- more explanation
- less kissing and sex
- more singing and dancing
There is a market for both types of movies, and I hope that Bollywood continues to make Bollywood movies instead of simply trying to tailor to the Hollywood market.
© 2012 Shasta Matova
TuneMariEntree Yaar Dil me in bujiyaar on June 02, 2015:
Hey Millionairetips do you enjoy films that serve the national pride of our country without sex or vandalism. I watched film like 2 states and it describes Chetans Bhagats life. He eloped with his wife without telling his parents about his marriage. Honestly I couldn't care about morals besides for beliefs than convincing. God judges morals humans can be authority of morals. Punishment goes to himself not attention. Applies to everyone.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on October 08, 2014:
Thank you indiareel. I hadn't noticed that Indian movies were louder, but now that you mention it, I think you are right. Maybe it is also to drown out the crying baby in the movie theater! It is also true that a lot of movies are now being made by Indians who have been educated in or are now living in the west. These movies are very different from the traditional Bollywood film in that it has more of the characteristics of a Hollywood movie with more serious themes and no formal music and dancing scenes.
HK from London on October 06, 2014:
Very good analysis. Also, Indian movies are louder. Indian people wants it loud so that they can't hear the noises outside, you see. And, these days there are different types of Bollywood movies. From 1.5 hours long to 3 hours. From a psychological thriller to masala. From 10 songs to no songs.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on April 13, 2014:
Thank you Fadli,
Fadli on April 03, 2014:
You are a great analyzer
LupitaRonquillo on July 23, 2013:
Exactly, I've noticed this premise as well of grown children respecting more their parents views... :D
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on July 23, 2013:
Thank you for your comment and insight LupitaRonquillo. I really enjoy seeing the morals and values as well. Many Indian movies have the premise of boy meets girl, parents don't approve of the relationship so they have to find a way to get married. I find it interesting that in most of these movies the couple doesn't disrespect the parents and go around them. They find a way to solve the problem and convince the parents to let them get married. In Hollywood movies (and a standard in children's books I'm afraid), the parents are inept and do not need to be consulted or obeyed.
LupitaRonquillo on July 22, 2013:
Your article cleared up a lot of questions I had about Bollywood films! I recently just started watching them and had noticed obvious differences such as no nudity, sex or kissing and even certain violent scenes were within reason. No vampirish or horrific bloody scenes to worry about, at least not with the ones I've chosen to see. Hollywood has become so trashed lately. Even a PG rated movie has, in my opinion, contained a few too many "too close for comfort" violent or irrational scenes. With children in the house, its easy for them to pick up and learn the wrong values allowing them to watch anything so called "appropriately rated." In Bollywood films, I had wondered why there was so much singing and dancing mixed with a variety of genre scenes. Here in America, its rare the WHOLE family, including grandma will go see a movie together. What I like the most about Bollywood films is learning about the Indian culture and its modern day extremities all the while seeing a link in their morals, values and traditions within the movie. As a Christian and a writer, I appreciate the differences in other people and their culture without being biased and can see a "bigger picture" of similarities that derive from the heart. So far, my favorite movies are with Kajol, Kaif, and Shah Ruhk Khan... looking forward to watching more Bollywood and learning a little Hindi at the same time as well ;)
nufoundglory from Asia on April 15, 2013:
Yeah, I guess you're right. In a way, we somehow watch movies to escape reality! :) Cheers!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on April 15, 2013:
Thank you for your input nufoundglory. I am not offended at all - I enjoy a lively debate. The reason the title is general is because I was speaking generally about the difference between Hollywood movies and Bollywood films, and just using Kites as an example to show the difference. What you hate about Bollywood movies is what I love about it. I really love the singing and dancing. I think songs can tell so much in a short while - like a photograph instead of 1,000 words. And I really like the emotions in the Bollywood films. I can cry at the movies and hopefully this means I won't have to cry in my real life.
I agree with you about the location - I do wish they would film move of the movies in India. I want to see as much of it as possible. And you are right about the lifestyle - even though there are some Bollywood movies that touch upon normal life in India, most of them are about the jet set. You do have to look for the ones that are more about the middle or lower class. But then again, a lot of Hollywood movies have a lot of unrealistic lifestyles / events, etc. It is all about leaving your humdrum life and fantasizing about someone else's exciting life!
nufoundglory from Asia on April 14, 2013:
I wonder why you only reviewed ONE movie when comparing "Hollywood" and "Bollywood" movies generally? You should title this as "Difference between Kites movie, Bollywood and Hollywood version" or something along that line.
With all honesty (no offense, okay?), I can't stand Bollywood movies because they're usually over THREE HOURS long, and filled with full-length songs and dancing and the hero and heroine rolling on the ground touching each other. And probably 99% of Bollywood movies are crafted to make the viewers CRY. There's a lot of crying, crying, crying in Bollywood movies.
But never mind all that. What I really don't like about Bollywood movies is that 95% of them were shot in other countries, 90% of them are NOT based on REAL LIFE in India, they should all just be put under "Fantasy" because those fancy cars, fancy houses, unrealistic lifestyle that were always portrayed in Bollywood movies don't reflect average lifestyle in India at all. So to sum it all up, I just dislike Bollywood movies because of the hypocrisy in them.
Just to be clear, this isn't a personal attack, you're probably a wonderful person, I was just merely expressing my honest opinion, is all. Cheers.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 11, 2013:
Thanks jainismus. I am glad you liked it.
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on February 08, 2013:
Interesting information, nice analysis.
Share with followers.
Rema T V from Chennai, India on November 20, 2012:
Good review. Though I am not an avid film watcher, I read your hub and liked it. Sharing it across. Cheers, Rema.
Mike Robbers from London on November 19, 2012:
I've seen a quite a few bollywood films, I think though that I appreciate it more than hollywood as it seems more original and beautifully naïve to me.. I am surprised of the old statistics provided in your hub, much more people watch Bollywood movies compared to Hollywood, hollywood is much more profitable though.. that possibly happens because bollywood is not promoted - it should though - in the "wealthy" West.
thanks for your interesting hub Millionaire, loved and shared it
Mary Craig from New York on November 19, 2012:
Like Healthwealthmusic I never knew exactly what Bollywood was so I thank you for the explanation.
You have done a very thorough job of explaining the differences between the Hollywood and Bollywood versions of this movie and I must say it sounds like the Bollywood version is better....certainly the opening poem is! I enjoyed this hub and will have to put this movie on my list of movies to see!
Voted up, useful, and interesting!
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on August 15, 2012:
I am aware of that, that you were not talking about the religion or the talent of the actresses, but if you look at the Bollywood "Heroes", apart from Hritik, most of them are Muslims.
Saif Ali Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Imran Khan, Farradin Khan
Ajay Devgan and John Abrahm being the only not Muslims I can call to mind. Most of actresses tend to be Hindu.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on August 15, 2012:
Thank you for your comment and insight Twilight Lawns. I agree that Kites was not his best movie. Yes, Bollywood certainly has changed a lot due to the influence of Hollywood and other movies. From the movies I have seen, the girls who are more likely to kiss are more likely to be portrayed as having a religion other than Hindu. I was not talking about the religion or the talent of the actresses.
Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on August 14, 2012:
I tend to disagree. I think 'Kites' was one of Hrithik's least appealing movies. Bollywood has moved on a lot, and there are many which have kissing in them now. The plots are also much better and although I'm not into car chases that go on too long, Bollywood is capable of doing just that, very well.
But please remember that it is not just Hindu girls who are depicted in Bollywood movies, there are very talented actress and actors who play both Muslim and Hindu characters.
And what Bollywood dancer can beat Hrithik Roshan in dancing? A man with an amazing body who is so light on his feet as few men or women can be.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on August 14, 2012:
Thanks Alecia for your comment. I hope the movie you watched was a good one. Recently, I picked up a video from the library that turned out to be German. It was interesting to watch the different values that get highlighted in different cultures and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope you try other Bollywood films, and movies from other cultures as well.
Alecia Murphy from Wilmington, North Carolina on August 13, 2012:
I had to watch a Bollywood movie for a class in college and it was interesting and included the elements like you said. I had a hard time mainly because I have only really seen American films. I understand that the type of movie fits their culture just like our movies fit our culture. Great hub on an interesting subject.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on August 08, 2012:
Thanks Film Fanatic 603. I really enjoy watching different kinds of movies, including Hollywood and Bollywood movies.
Film Fanatic 603 on August 07, 2012:
Fantastic hub Millionaire Tips. As a movie lover I must say I have only seen a few Bollywood movies but your explanation of the genre makes me want to watch more. As someone who writes about movies, I found your hub to be flawless, giving readers all the information they would want to know.
sikandar khalid on June 14, 2012:
they many difference but most major difference is sex that is most important thing which we enjoy
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on June 13, 2012:
Thank you unknown spy. I enjoyed doing the research and writing about my opinion about difference between Hollywood and Bollywood.
Arsh Anshu on June 12, 2012:
.Great combintion of holy n boly.
.......i like dis movie.. Vry much i saw both versions of this movie
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on June 09, 2012:
That's true Vellur - Maybe it is the combination of Hollywood and Bollywood movies that is causing the problems. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 09, 2012:
Enjoyed reading. I guess a mix of Hollywood and Bollywood is hotch potch that has disastrous results.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on June 06, 2012:
Reena, it seems to me that this is the Hollywood influence that is making Bollywood test the limits. Hopefully they don't go as far as pornography, but I wouldn't know about those things.
Reena on April 10, 2012:
Bollywood does not signifies India as this is going to be industry for sluts and prostitutes that could do anything for money ..mallika,Celina,Gul panag,aditi rao ,tanushree are just some sluts that did not get roles in good movies so they approach to this idea ..Bollywood is now shifting more to Pornographic type of movies ..
manjeet on February 20, 2012:
u have to research more bro.'Bolly don't portray hindu gals for kissing'. This line is very contraversial if cums to media. Anyway,fr ur info, hindu actress hv gaven more and too hot kisses than othrs. Malika,celina,gul panag, aditi rao,tanushree r sum of these. Kissng is way fr less fame actress to upgrade their level. Lets take a eg. Katrina fst movie boom in whch she exposed too much bt as she becames superstar,she is refusing to wear bikini nw even in big fees.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 13, 2012:
Thank you ishwaryaa22. It would be great if they could find a way to have movies that deal with difficult adult topics, but still keep the basic Bollywood format movies as well.
Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on February 13, 2012:
Your observation of Hollywood Vs Bollywood is immaculate. I agree with you. Bollywood should be Bollywood and should be unique in its own way. Hrithik Roshan is my favorite Indian actor. Thank u for sharing. Rated it interesting. Vote up.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 05, 2012:
Thank you for reading and commenting, jainismus. You're right, it has been a long time since they started the kissing, and they have been doing away with the romance and dance as well. Slumdog Millionaire comes to mind; although it does have a romance, it isn't the traditional romance. I'll have to look for "Wednesday". Our library hasn't been ordering the Hindi films since last year, so I have to find them online.
Mahaveer Sanglikar from Pune, India on February 05, 2012:
Nice observation. But now a days, many Bollywood movies are following Hollywood path. In recent past many movies came without songs, without dance and without romance. Just action with good stories. One of such movie I watched was 'Wednesday',staring Nasauddin Shah and Anupam Kher.
However, as always your this Hub too is interesting.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on February 03, 2012:
Thank you healthwealthmusic. I really enjoy watching Bollywood movies, since they have everything - action, drama, romance, even music and dancing.
Ruth R. Martin from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York on February 03, 2012:
I've never watched this movie, but I have been wondering for sometime already what Bollywood really is about. Thank you for explaining it so nicely and in such detail!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 27, 2012:
Thank you elayne001 - he is one of my favorite actors too, he is just so good looking. He has at least one DVD that has all of his songs compiled from different movies. It is too long to watch at one sitting (about 4 hours long), but I enjoy having that on in the background as I go about my day at home (cleaning, etc.)
Elayne from Rocky Mountains on January 27, 2012:
I have only seen the Bollywood Kites and loved it. I will have to check out the Hollywood version. Hrithik Roshan is my latest favorite actor - those eyes..... Great hub.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 25, 2012:
Thank you Ruchira. I would prefer for Bollywood movies to retain the family-friendliness that they have.
Ruchira from United States on January 24, 2012:
Loved your comparisons and yes, it would be good if bollywood could retain it's indian touch and ideals and not try to mingle towards hollywood :)
voted up as interesting!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 23, 2012:
Thank you iguidenetwork. I enjoyed writing it.
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on January 22, 2012:
very realistic differentiation giving a good knowledge of hollywood and bollywood.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 22, 2012:
Thank you Donna. It is interesting how the different histories of the two countries caused such differences in the movies.
Donna Cosmato from USA on January 22, 2012:
This is an excellent comparison of these two genres and really helped me visualize the differences. Kudos!
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 21, 2012:
Thanks alocsin for commenting and voting. Both of the movies came together in the same case, so the comparison is pretty easy. If you do watch it, will you watch the Hollywood one first though, and let me know if the story line flowed okay without all the cut out scenes?
riaha - I think the Hindi version was made first - the English version is called "remix." But that's true, the copied versions do get more masala, with extra music and dance. The action and suspense sequences are almost never as good, although I do have to say the action in Kites was really good.
rlaha from Spartanburg, SC on January 21, 2012:
Hi Millionaire Tips! Yes, I did see Kites in English and in Hindi. Other movies that Bollywood has copied from Hollywood are strange in the sense that the stories are almost 100% copied but the music and the dance sequences are added into the Bollywood movies. On top of that, the movies are then formulated to make it with "masala" or spicy.
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 21, 2012:
I like both types of movies a lot, but have not seen the Kites movie in either version. They'd be an interesting rental for comparison. Voting this Up and Interesting.
Shasta Matova (author) from USA on January 21, 2012:
Thanks riaha - did you see the movie?
rlaha from Spartanburg, SC on January 21, 2012:
So so true! Voted up and interesting!