How to Learn Hindi? See a Bollywood Movie!


You may be trying to discover how to learn Hindi in fun and different ways. Homework and practice is good and helpful, but maybe you want a change of pace. Fortunately for all of us, there’s Bollywood! Watching a Bollywood movie is an adventuresome exercise in how to learn Hindi.

Bollywood refers to the Hindi-language film industry that is centered in Mumbai. The word is a mix of “Bombay,” as Mumbai was called until 1995, and, of course, “Hollywood.” The term was first used in the 1970’s, when film production in India was so prolific that it exceeded even the United States.

Bollywood is not to be confused with Tollywood, another term used to describe part of the Indian film industry. Tollywood is centered in Tollygunge, an area of Kolkata, and produces films in Bengali. More broadly, Bollywood should not be confused with the Indian film industry taken as a whole, as there are other locations and languages in India in which films are made.

Although Bollywood movies occasionally use some English and some Urdu poetic terms, it is a Hindi-language cinema. Many Bollywood movies are available on DVD and it is possible to get them through Netflix or Blockbuster. So almost anyone looking for an original way how to learn Hindi has this resource available. Does your community have a large Indian or Pakistani population? An annual film festival? Or a university with a foreign film program? If so, you may be able to find Bollywood films on the big screen, at least every once in a while.

Bollywood films are usually musicals. Whether a film succeeds at the box office or not can depend on the audience’s reception of the music and dance numbers. It is typical for a Bollywood movie to use such plot devices as convenient coincidences, the reunification of separated relatives, star-crossed lovers with disapproving parents, love triangles, derring-do, and extreme reversals of fortune. There are heroes and villains. There is action, romance, comedy, farce and melodrama. In fact, Bollywood movies are such a mixture of so many elements that they are sometimes referred to a “masalas,” the term used to describe the spice mixture that is such a significant element in Indian cooking. Of course, it takes time for all those musical numbers, plot twists and complicated interpersonal relationships to unfold. A Bollywood film generally runs three hours and has an intermission.

As time passes, Bollywood movies are incorporating more Western elements in their plots. For example, instead of depicting young adults entering into arranged marriages, some films are showing young singles dating and enjoying the nightlife.

Watching Bollywood movies is fun. One way or another, they should be accessible to most people in the United States. It’s a great way to hear dialogue spoken rapidly, hear the rhythm of spoken Hindi, get a flavor of the culture and fashions of India and have an entertaining evening all at the same time. And watching movies, watching television and listening to radio are effective ways to learn any language. So use Hindi-language films as a resource as you work out your plan for how to learn Hindi.

Source by Fran Madden

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