The East-West Center Arts Program, in cooperation with the Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, presents:


“Bollywood” is often used synonymously for the Hindi-language film industry, based in Mumbai (Bombay). Other major Indian film centers are located in each of the significant language regions. The Indian film industry is the largest and most prolific in the world, producing between 800 and 2000 films annually.

Bollywood films are admired and enjoyed by people from every continent on the globe, and is currently watched by over a billion people. Known for its dazzling costumes, sets,musical numbers, dances and songs, the industry’s impact continues to grow. Using both recognizable character types and beautiful glamorous actors, Bollywood films draw upon the golden age of Hollywood for inspiration, and more importantly on Indian classical and folk traditions.

Although sometimes conflated with superficial melodramatic entertainment, the Bollywood industry frequently deals with major social issues, including caste-ism, racism, poverty, underworld crime, gender identity and corruption. Bollywood films speak to both the urban and rural poor in the developing world, and increasingly to audiences around the globe.

This exhibition focuses on film costume—its superb design and masterly execution. For one hundred years, Indian filmmakers have been creating images that influence how Indians view themselves and their history. The exhibit looks at various epochs (both real and imaginary) important in Indian consciousness, including Buddhist and Hindu epics, the Mughal era, the British Raj (19th century colonial period), post independence, contemporary India, and the science fiction future. Through costumes, photographs, film clips, posters and designer sketches, a picture of Indian aesthetic values will emerge.

Click here to download the event handout.

East-West Center Gallery
Honolulu, Hawai‘i
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)

Gallery hours: Weekdays: 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sundays: Noon–4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays, holidays,
plus December 22, 24, 29, and 31

For further information: 944.7177

School & group tours available

Gallery visitors interested in joining the EWC Arts ‘Ohana can obtain the appropriate flyer in the gallery, by telephoning the EWC Foundation at 944.7105, or online: