What's the Difference Between a Hollywood Movie and a Bollywood Film?
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.
Kites Movie Review (Bollywood Version)
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.
Kites Review (Hollywood Version)
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.
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© 2012 Shasta Matova