Mumbai is the largest city in India and welcomes cultures, religions, languages and cuisines from across the world.
As a result, it is one of the most colourful and diverse parts of the country, but perhaps most importantly Mumbai is the home of one of the world’s most prolific film industries: Bollywood.
The city’s history as a trading centre means that for centuries migrants have brought their own cultures to Mumbai, combining in the tens of millions to create a varied and dynamic environment rich in contrasts.
A variety of traditional festivals, food, music and art can be found and celebrated across the city, in a sometimes surprising blend of old and new, rich and poor.
As a way to unify the diversity of the city, it has its own dialect called Mumbai Hindi, a combination of South Asian languages with a touch of colonial English, aptly reflecting the broad variety of influences on the city’s own culture.
Mumbai is known for its fast pace and glamorous lifestyle, propagated by the prominent film industry that exists at the heart of the city.
Bollywood is one of India’s most famous exports; originating in the early 20th century but gaining in stride post-independence, India continues to produce around 800 films each year making it one of the largest film producers in the world.
The term Bollywood was coined in the 1970s as an amalgamation of ‘Bombay’ and ‘Hollywood’; its films are characterised by its spectacular dance numbers, unique music and often melodramatic plot-lines combining romance, tragedy and comedy, all illustrated in vivid colour.
Many Bollywood productions are made in Mumbai, often filmed on location around the city, either in the streets or in local bars and clubs.
Bollywood has now begun to spread across the world as its influence reaches other film and music genres further increasing its appeal to international audiences.