Hollywood is not just a place. That name is synonymous with the American film industry, the most widely seen on the planet. It is however, not the only hub of film activity. Indeed it has spawned many others which rival it in size such as China’s. With a population of one billion, India has its own thriving film industry in which the majority of movies are shot in the Hindi language. This industry is aptly named Bollywood. Its features are characterized by a great deal of music and naturally this is accompanied by sweeping dance numbers. This essay looks into the impact of dance in the industry.
Dance is a huge part of Indian culture. It plays a very important role in the Hindu religion with many particular routines being used in the worship of certain deities. The role of religion in the culture cannot be underestimated either. Hinduism is a faith that historically stretches back thousands of years and aspects of it affect every part of the citizens lives. The caste system for instance decides the life path of everyday people. Those who are born into lower castes are not legally allowed to be discriminated against but it still takes place.
A major element of Indian classical dancing is the use of mudras. These are hand gestures that are used in worship and meditation. Different moves have different meanings which are clearly understood almost like a sign language but with implications for health and well-being added in. Characters can utilize these movements to help further the plot in subtle ways and emphasize their points.
As much as these routines have very deep significance, they are also used as a very pure form of entertainment. Indian cinema has very strict laws to work with which can limit the plot development. Where other cinematic regions may be able to include love scenes they are left with dramatic dance sequences to further the romance between two characters. Kissing is not allowed on screen under any circumstances at the time of writing.
There are many types of musicals in the world but those that take place in Bollywood are in a category all their own. The movements that accompany these songs have become popular throughout Asia and the middle East with people worldwide becoming fans now.
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