The utilisation of Indian folk dance forms in Bollywood - Hybridisation or exploitation?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review


The relationship of folk forms to Bollywood song and dance is a much-neglected area of study that has not been pursued in detail by Bollywood experts or ethnomusicologists studying indigenous Indian dance traditions. Throughout this article, I will draw insights from some of the existing scholarly work alongside first-hand interviews I have conducted with a few Bollywood film directors and choreographers. I will touch upon such fundamental issues relating to Bollywood song and dance cultures as: the typical format of the Bollywood film (with its multiple song and dance sequences), how Bollywood films compare with the genre of the Hollywood musical; the relationship of song and dance to the narrative of Bollywood films, and the choreographic and musical elements which characterise Bollywood song and dance. I will briefly trace the history of song and dance in Bollywood films in order to show that filmmakers from the 1970s onwards resorted to prolific hybridisation of indigenous Indian and global dance elements. Having established this historical context, I will argue that as a result of these experiments in hybridisation, and through the spectacularisation of song and dance sequences, folk dance forms used in Bollywood song and dance also became increasingly detached from their traditional contexts and norms of performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChanging Trends of Indian Cinema
EditorsSusmita Bala
Place of PublicationNew Delhi, India
PublisherKanishka Publishers
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9788193707081
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bollywood
  • Hindi Cinema
  • Folk Dance
  • Culture
  • Cultural Heritage
  • film studies


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