1. This episode steps outside of the Bollywood film sets and looks at a making-of a mythology based television serial in India. When television was first introduced, these serials were ground-breaking. At the set of a show called “Ravan”, the director, Ranjan Singh reveals the challenges involved in creating believable real-life characters out of prototypes of famous Gods and Goddesses in Hindu mythology. As his show is a controversial take on the Ramayana, his work is burdened with an even greater challenge of telling a timeless classic under scrutiny.

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  2. The Lonely Planet travel guide lists “being a Bollywood extra” as an activity that one must-do while in Mumbai. Digging beyond just the backpackers who are extras on film sets, this episode reveals the small industry of foreign artists or white-skinned Indians who are successfully working in the film industry. In this episode, Harry Key shares his journey coming to India as a backpacker and deciding to stay back to work in the film industry. Harry explains how he is typecast as a villain in a colonial period film, a sexy white man in a music video or in his earlier days, as an extra in a Bollywood dance sequence. On the other hand, there is Tom Alter, who looks like a foreigner but is born and raised in India and thus speaks perfect hindi. Through his journey, it becomes clear that anyone who does not look typically ‘Indian’ (referring to mostly north-Indian features) is thought of as a ‘foreigner’ in the industry. Tom began his career in the 1970s after graduating from one of India’s leading film institutes, and has starred in numerous films as well as theatre productions in Mumbai, making him one of the most well-known ‘foreign’ faces of India.

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  3. The heartbeat of Mumbai is undoubtedly a medley of Bollywood music. From the dhoom of the traditional percussions to the pumping electronic beats, a film score is always released first as it establishes the essence and popularity of a film even before its release. Mixing traditional/classical instruments and eclectic sample beats, Bollywood music embraces Mumbai with its cacophony of street sounds, shouts and stir-craziness. In this episode, Bollywood music is explored through the insights of one of Bollywood’s most well known Musicians-cum-Music Directors, the trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and the duo, Vishal-Shekhar. These composers work with some of the top fusion artists in India such as Naveen Kumar, a flutist, and Shivamani, a percussionist. Along with these well-known artists, newcomers such as singers Raman Mahadevan and Shweta Pandit, share their insights about where Bollywood music is going today.

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  4. The Bollywood film industry has created its trademark with bright colors, scenic backdrops and intricate detailed work. Feeling nostalgia for the ‘old days’ of Indian cinema, in this episode, a gem of an artist, Narayanji, shares his story. He is responsible for creating some of the typical Bollywood film images that are a part of the Indian collective conscious. However in the age of technology and digitalization, it is difficult for Narayanji to survive with his gutter pump and paintbrushes. Another old-time artist, Bal Krishna, who hand-paints film posters, is one of the last ones standing. He has painted posters for almost every popular Hindi film since the 70s, and today his small studio is barely running as no one but foreigners and kitschy art collectors are interested in his work.

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  5. India has many races and faces, yet the iconic images of ‘India’ are created and mirrored on the Bollywood sets. An Indian woman is defined on screen with close-up shots of her kohl-defined eyes, cascading highlighted locks, sexy curves gyrating in sequences and colorful outfits. As A-list celebrities in India create their own brand, youngsters look upon them to image themselves with a particular haircut, makeup style or fashion sense. In this episode, Ojas Rajani, tells us how he became trusted and known with the A-list of Bollywood actresses. Along with Ojas, Mumbai’s hip hairstylist, Sapna Bhavnani and wig-maker, Surendra Salve, give their insights on how hair and makeup have evolved and changed over the years as the role of women in films have to.

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Breaking Into Bollywood (3 eps)

Manas Malhotra Plus

The seven-part series, “Breaking Into Bollywood” discovers artists and workers in various departments of the mainstream Indian film industry – Bollywood. The motivation and passion behind the scenes is unearthed over candid interviews and footage of…


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The seven-part series, “Breaking Into Bollywood” discovers artists and workers in various departments of the mainstream Indian film industry – Bollywood. The motivation and passion behind the scenes is unearthed over candid interviews and footage of artists and technicians working in the departments of dance, music, set design, fashion and style and mythology genre television shows and films. Along with these insights from Indians from all over the country that flock to Mumbai to be part of the world of glamour, the series includes the unique perspective of foreigners in the industry who move to Mumbai to make it big.

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