India's Hindi film industry, Bollywood, is based out of the country's financial capital, Mumbai. The name Bollywood is a compound of the words Bombay, the old name for the city of Mumbai, and Hollywood, the glitzy US blockbuster movie industry.
The name Bollywood was coined in the 1970s to make one of the world's most successful industries more palatable to Western audiences.
But, is it possible to compare Bollywood to Hollywood, particularly when it comes to women working in the movies?
The short answer is "no," according to Priyanka Singh, a lecturer in film studies who specializes in women's authorship and representation in Indian cinema at the University of Leeds. "In India, films are like a religion."
Early days of Indian nation building
In their early years, movies in Bollywood and Hollywood had very different goals and purposes, as well as different audiences — and therefore the portrayal of women on screen was different.
Bollywood was only a few decades older than India's 1947 independence from British colonial rule, and movies had a heavy burden to carry.
The first International Film Festival of India was inaugurated under the guidance of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who stressed cinema's role in nation building.
"Film has become a powerful influence in people's lives," he said. "It can educate them rightly or wrongly."
Films of the time reflected the government's strong socialist agenda and glorification of the tireless farmers and the woman as a personification of Indian ideals.
"Mother India" (1957) tells the story of a woman who emerges from extreme poverty and unspeakable hardship into a life where she flourishes and in a land that has progressed. A land that she refuses to leave until it has been resurrected.
This portrayal was weighed down by the task of setting an example, depicting qualities of the so-called perfect woman.
"The women after independence needed to be sacrificing, patient, perfect embodiment of femininity," Singh told DW.