Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood

Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood

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Lagaan (Once Upon a time in India)
Lagaan (Once Upon a time in India) Simrit Brar & Glamour © V&A Images/Courtesy of Amir Khan Productions.

Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani
Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (The Immortal story of Dr Kotnis), S.M. Pandit. © V&A Images/Rajkamal Kalamandir Private. Ltd.

Ram Balram, Diwaker Karekare.
Ram Balram, Diwaker Karekare.
© V&A Images/Courtesy of Nav
Jeevan Films


6 June – 11 November 2007

The vibrant, colourful world of Bollywood comes to the Powerhouse Museum in June with a major exhibition celebrating one of the world’s most prolific film industries.

Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood captures the excitement and glamour of Bollywood and brings together some of the most remarkable examples of Indian cinema art.

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world, producing films which range from regional-language cinema to art house. In 1931 a modest 28 films were produced in India. In 1947 that figure reached 280. Today, nearly 1000 movies are made each year in India - the largest output in the world.

Bollywood has become the popular name for commercial Hindi-language cinema produced in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and is considered the national cinema of India.

Cinema India explores the phenomenon of Bollywood, primarily through film advertising materials – posters, hoardings, lobby cards and song books – from the 1930s to the present day. Alongside will be some dazzling Bollywood costumes as well as original film trailers and song and dance sequences featuring the most celebrated stars of Indian cinema.  

As it charts the development of Bollywood advertising over the years, the exhibition also gives an insight into the historical, political and cultural changes that have shaped the country.

India’s struggle for independence, the search for a national identity and the influence of traditional and western cultures are all reflected in the films and marketing material. The experience of the non resident Indian is also examined in a section on Bollywood movies filmed in Australia.

Along with love and romance, the exhibition explores the role of family and the depiction of women in Bollywood movies, including a special section on the unconventional, Australian-born Bollywood star of the 1930s and 40s known as ‘Fearless Nadia’ – queen of the stunt film.

Bollywood films are now hugely popular worldwide, watched by billions of people across the globe. Their distinct style, characterised by eye-catching song and dance sequences, bold, colourful imagery, long plot lines and exaggerated depictions of emotion, provide pure escapist entertainment.

Deewaar (The Wall
Deewaar (The Wall), Diwaker
Karekare. © V&A Images/Courtesy
of Yash Raj Films Private Ltd and
Gulshan Rai.

Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
ictoria and Albert Museum

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