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Indian Art and Bollywood: Exploring the Crossover 

The fusion of Bollywood and Indian art forms a maze of creativity and culture, enriching both realms of existence and captivating audiences worldwide. Consider this blog as an exploration of Indian Art with Bollywood, which delves into some examples and instances where one draws inspiration from the other. These two fields, theatre and painting, have made lifelong promises to inspire and captivate a grand audience for future generations, and have consistently delivered! 

Influence of Indian Art on Bollywood:

Image source: Hindustan Times

Bollywood, with its obsession with grandeur and extraordinary glamour, often looks to traditional Indian art forms for inspiration. Their overlap, however subtle and interwoven, is evident. Take, for instance, the classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi. These intricate dance styles find creative expression in Bollywood through choreographed dances and sequences, highlighting their outfits with elegance and grace. 

One can witness this in iconic dance numbers like Madhuri Dixit’s Maar Dala from Devdas, where the classical Kathak moves are blended seamlessly with the narrative of the film. Kathak is a classical dance form of India that embodies rhythm and storytelling. Showcasing these traditional Indian arts in successful, blockbuster movies brings curiosity in the minds of the viewer, resulting in the knowledge and appreciation of the art form. 

Bollywood filmmakers frequently incorporate motifs and symbols from Indian mythology and folk art into their storytelling. In PK, a satirical comedy drama, the protagonist’s journey through the streets of Delhi is shown through vibrant street art. While watching a movie, the background plays as good a role in its screening as the dialogues and characters. Showcasing the city’s cultural vibrancy through art while subtly commenting on societal norms is what got the movie raving reviews. 

Another example lies in the intricate designs and patterns seen in Bollywood costumes and sets. These often mirror the aesthetics of Indian miniature paintings, with their depictions of flora, fauna and mythological stories. Movies such as Padmaavat and Bajirao Mastani exemplify this fusion. One cannot help but be fascinated by their opulent sets and costumes reminiscent of miniature paintings of the Mughal era.

Bollywood as a Patron of Indian Art

Image source: The Times of India 

Beyond mere inspiration, Bollywood serves as a significant patron of Indian art, both in the traditional and contemporary context. Actor- artist collaborations seem to be the “in thing” at the moment in the creative world. It not only highlights their trajectory in life but serves to educate the viewers on their struggles as an artist. A notable instance is Amitabh Bachchan’s association with the renowned artist M.F. Husain. This legendary artist was known for his fascination with Bollywood stars. His collaboration with Bachchan resulted in several paintings that captured the actor’s persona in Husain’s signature style.

Furthermore, Bollywood celebrities actively promote Indian art through their social and cultural engagements. Actress Vidya Balan is a proponent of handloom textiles. She often showcases traditional Indian weaves in her public appearances, thereby promoting indigenous craftsmanship. Similarly, actor Aamir Khan’s support for rural artisans and craftsmen through his TV show Satyamev Jayate shed light on India’s rich artistic heritage. 

Bollywood’s influence extends beyond national borders. Even international celebrities love and embrace Indian art forms in whatever form. Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie’s admiration for Indian art led her to collaborate with Indian artist Sangeeta Gupta. The result is a stunning series of artworks that have blended Gupta’s traditional Indian motifs with Jolie’s global aesthetic appeal.

Artistic Collaborations in Bollywood

Image source: Etsy 

The synergy between Bollywood and Indian art is perhaps most evident in their collaborative ventures. Filmmakers often collaborate with renowned artists, designers and craftsmen to create visually stunning sets, costumes and promotional artwork for their movies. For instance, Sanjay Leela Bhansali collaborated with renowned fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for the costumes in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela. Known for his visually extravagant films, Bhansali chooses to infuse the film with a distinctively regal aesthetic.

Bollywood often explores the lives and struggles of artists, shedding light on the creative process and the societal perceptions of art. Films like Gully Boy delve into the world of creative expression, highlighting the role of art as a form of expression and resistance against social injustices. 

Additionally, Bollywood has produced movies that celebrate the artistic genius of legendary figures. Rang Rasiya chronicles the life of the renowned painter Raja Ravi Varma, offering insights into his creative vision and the societal challenges he faced. Similarly, M.F. Husain: The Lost Hero pays homage to the iconic artist, tracing his journey from humble beginnings to international acclaim.

Challenges and Opportunities

Image source: Mint 

While the crossover between Bollywood and Indian art is celebrated, it also poses certain challenges. Cultural appropriation, commodification of art and stereotyping are issues that need to be addressed sensitively. Bollywood must strive to ensure that its engagement with Indian art is respectful and authentic. The production and screening of a film must be done with utmost care, avoiding shallow portrayals or misrepresentations.

However, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for meaningful collaborations and cultural exchange. By fostering genuine partnerships, promoting diversity in storytelling and supporting emerging artists, Bollywood can contribute to the preservation and promotion of India’s rich artistic heritage.

Image source:

Everything considered… 

The crossover between Bollywood and Indian art is a testament to the enduring influence of tradition and creativity in Indian culture. Through numerous examples and instances, we stand to witness how one draws inspiration from the other. It celebrates the diversity that India, as a country, has to offer, while contributing to its global recognition. To conclude, we can safely say that the synergy between Bollywood and Indian art is a source of creativity and cultural enrichment, which inspires and captivates art and film enthusiasts for generations to come. 

To learn more about Indian art forms and their affiliations with similar fields of interest, download the Rooftop app from Google Play or App Store to stay updated on our upcoming art events and workshops. Stay tuned to rooftop blogs and follow us on @rooftop_app

By Freya Bulsara

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