Dancing to the Tunes of Bollywood (Part 2)

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Background: Folk dance and music forms are quite widespread across India, each region, language and religious and social groups bringing their own flavour, style and types. Since the introduction of talkies in India, song and dance sequences have been utilised in cinema in various manners. The early films borrowed heavily from the Indian folk and classical dance forms to design/choreograph the song and dance sequences. In addition, the colonial culture and Hollywood musicals of the 1930s also influenced the Indian cinema tremendously. From utilising the song-dance in uncorrupted forms, soon filmmakers started experimenting with creating fusion dance forms, freely mixing Indian folk and classical dance forms with dance forms from across the world, especially Western, African and East European dance forms (Kishore, 2014). The appropriation folk music and dance forms and their hybridised representation in Bollywood films also posed challenges for the folk dance forms for its survival. Bollywood song and dance became a competitor as well as a model to imitate and emulate for Indian folk dance froms practiced in grassroots level. Barnouw Krishnaswamy (1963, p.72) state that “while the influence of folk music and dance strengthened the film, it also had other effects. It meant an almost mortal blow to Jatras and other kinds of folk drama.” Without a doubt, folk dance forms face grave challenge due to its appropriation, hybridisation and glamorous and spectacular representation on films. In recent years, the popular Bollywood cinema song and dance sequences have impacted the “actual” folk dance practices tremendously (Kishore, 2014). Thus, one can witness a cross-cultural flow which initially started with Indian folk dance forms lending itself to song and dance sequences in Indian/Bollywood cinema from 1930s onward. While post 1960’s a reverse cultural flow started, the popular Indian cinema song and dance sequences started influencing the folk dance forms. Contribution: This film focuses on the folk dance forms of India; therefore, this contributes immensely in the field cultural studies. Especially the discussion on Chhau/Bhangra dance form brings forth the debate on the impact of popular cinema on the traditional dance and theatre (Chhau has been included in “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO, 2010). this film provides a different perspective of globalisation and modernisation through the changes that are shaped in the folk dance forms through cinema. Significance: This film is one of the first to analyse the impact of Bollywood cinema on the folk dance forms of India; with specific case studies of folk dance forms such as Bhangra and Chhau. Bollywood song and dance sequences have been much of a point of discussion and debate in the academic circle; this film provides an overview of the construction, stylisation, design and depiction of folk song and dance sequences in Bollywood.
Original languageEnglish
TypeShort documentary
Media of outputvideo
PublisherVikrant Kishore
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Bollywood
  • Folklore
  • Cultural Flow
  • India
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Traditional
  • Intangible cultural heritage
  • Hindi Cinema


Dive into the research topics of 'Dancing to the Tunes of Bollywood (Part 2)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this