January 25, 2015 14:15 UTC

As It Is

Bollywood Turns 100

Models pose next to a wax figure of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.
Models pose next to a wax figure of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


Hi again! Nice to have you with us here on As It Is. 

We are celebrating this week. Here in the United States, Sunday is Mother’s Day. The Census Bureau reports that about 80 percent of American women are mothers. This is good news if you own a flower shop or perfume business. Flowers, perfume and jewelry are popular gifts for moms on Mother’s Day.

And if you are a woman in western India, you might get a very unusual gift this year. More iron in your diet!
 
Indian Farmers Fight “Hidden Hunger”

Sunil Gandham of a company called Nirmal Seeds partnered with an American-based group to provide what he calls the new direction of agriculture.
“So this is the only way – a cheap way – with less cost, how to increase their vitamins, irons, all these micronutrients which are needed for the health of the body.”
 
His company is providing millet seeds that have extra iron. VOA reporter Aru Pande says that more than 60 percent of women in India do not have enough iron in their bodies. The lack of iron leads to problems in pregnancy, childbirth, and development in young children.

Parwath Pokharkar has seen the effects of low iron levels on women in her village. She says the women bleed a lot and are too tired to do their work.
 
She and others welcome the effort to add iron and vitamins to crops. In the case of millet, the grain is made into a flat bread, called roti, that some families eat every day. The extra-strength millet can provide 30 percent of the mean daily iron requirement for women and children.
 
Bollywood Turns 100
 
We are also celebrating an anniversary in India. Bollywood celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this month. You probably know Bollywood films. The actors usually speak Hindi, and the movies often include a lot of singing and dancing. Many tell dramatic stories. But Bollywood is now developing new kinds of cinema. Christopher Cruise explains.
 
Ekta Kapoor is having a special day. She is getting ready to watch a new Bollywood movie, called Bombay Talkies. The movie celebrates 100 years of Bollywood. She says she can’t think of life without Bollywood.

Bollywood is India’s main movie industry. And that is saying something because India produces more than 1,000 movies and sells three billion movie tickets each year.

Bollywood began a century ago with a black and white film. It told a story about a king from Hindu mythology.

Today, Bollywood is known for its singing and dancing. The movies often tell similar stories. Many times, they are romantic stories that have a happy ending. 

Anupama Chopra is a film critic in Mumbai.
 
“It is the sort of family values, the song and dance, the stars, the kind of un-ironical optimism, it is all very cheerful and it is very sort of sweetly optimistic and I think that that is something that travels very well.”

Anupama Chopra adds that Bollywood’s image is changing slowly. New stories are replacing more traditional ones. And a different generation of filmmakers is making a difference.

The new filmmakers are directors like Dibakar Banerjee, who tells one of the stories in Bombay Talkies.

Mr. Banerjee says Bollywood has space for new ideas. But he says it is not going to be easy to make a lot of untraditional films. Mr. Banerjee explains that rich or middle class people are the main reason for Bollywood’s success. He says new films increasingly challenge the old social order—and some audiences might not like the change.
 
But Bollywood films are popular not just in India. People in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Malaysia also love them. Dibakar Banerjee explains why people across Asia often connect with Bollywood movies. He says:

“The concerns of the average Indian people were the concerns of these people, which was one of the preservation of family, the preservation of tradition, a certain way of life, under the fearsome assault of Western values. These films told us, we are all right, we are all there.”
 
Movies are likely to remain popular in India -- even more popular than entertainment channels on television. The government has created measures to make it easier to raise money for film production. And, India has permitted foreign film studios, such as America’s Warner Brothers, to invest in the country. 
 
But film critic Anupama Chopra says it is mainly the Indian love for movies that ensures the industry’s future.
 
“My longstanding belief is that films are a religion in this country. This is sort of the second golden age of Bollywood.”
 
People like Ekta Kapoor hope that the movie industry will continue to grow in India. They want Bollywood to try new ideas, but never lose its glamor.
 
I’m Christopher Cruise.

And I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
 
Dutch King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother Princess Beatrix.Dutch King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother Princess Beatrix.
x
Dutch King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother Princess Beatrix.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander kisses his mother Princess Beatrix.
We leave you with a few more facts about mothers in the United States from the Census Bureau. About 4 million women gave birth in the past 12 months. Almost 90 percent of children live with their mothers. And about 1 percent of children live with a step-mother.
 
The average age of a woman when she has her first baby is 25. And about a third of the women who had babies in the last year were not married.
 
Finally, what are women naming their children? In the past few years, Aiden and Jacob are popular names for boys, Sophia and Emma for girls.
 
Thanks for being with us today. If you would like to reach us, send an email to special@voanews.com. Or go to our website at learningenglish.voanews.com and click on “Contact Us.”
 
Remember, you can listen to VOA world news at the beginning of the hour, Universal Time.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mustafa from: Turkey / Mersin
05/14/2013 6:54 PM
If mothers did not exist we could not exist because of that I celebrate all of mother in the world. They present us life. Anybody do not look after a baby as a real mother. Pardon a part of music ( a song) in this article's end is wonderful. Who sings it which I wonder it. Please could you tell or answer who is that. Thank you. Have a good work and days...


by: kika from: spain
05/13/2013 9:17 PM
Happy mother´s day to all the mothers in the world. I´m not really into this kind of celebrations because in my opinión every day is my mother´s day. She deserves it. I don´t buy anything for her, we prefer passing the time together.


by: Alex Smith from: Russia
05/12/2013 8:20 PM
About 2 million women gave birth in the past 12 months in Russia. So birth rate is the same as in the USA. I have not children yet. I want to have integrity at first. I like name Sophia for girl and Alex for boy.

In Response

by: Edgar Guariguata Gil from: Venezuela
05/13/2013 4:54 PM
The rate birth is not the same, the USA rate is about 4 million women gave birth in the past months, it is twice.

Learn with The News

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays

    Video Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays?

    Some religious minorities in America are demanding that schools close on their religious holidays. They ask, if Christian and Jewish holy days are recognized, shouldn’t those of other faiths also be observed? The issue is being debated in Maryland, near Washington, DC. More

  • Kenya prisoners

    Video In Kenya, Former Prisoners Seek Work, Help Community

    Former prisoners are working to prove there is life after crime. They want to show that they can lead productive lives.In one Nairobi neighborhood, they serve neighbors by collecting trash and doing other work. As they do so, they are giving back to a community that receives few public services. More

  • Supporters of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, carrying placards reading "I am Charlie", stage a silent protest outside the Foreign Correspondent Club in Hong Kong, Jan. 8, 2015.

    Audio China Reacts Differently to Charlie Hebdo Free Speech Debate

    Parisians lined up to buy the French magazine Charlie Hebdo after the attacks on its offices earlier this month. Many buyers wanted to show support for free speech. Muslims find the magazine’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed offensive. But, Chinese officials have their own interpretation. More

  • Former US Vice President Al Gore attends a session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 21, 2015 in Davos. The world's political and business elite gathered for their annual meeting in the glitzy Swiss ski resort with the shadow of

    Audio Let's Do Business!

    There are many special terms in the world of business. The following story is about a sweetheart deal which I made last week. I made the deal with a friend, and we both made a profit. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

  • .

    Video Rare, Important Art Is Now Only a Click Away

    The public has never seen the majority of works in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museums of Asian Art. Now they can be downloaded from the Internet -- in many cases for free. The Freer and Sackler Galleries worked for over 15 years to make digital copies of more than 40,000 objects. More

  • Video Light Pollution. How Much Light is Too Much?

    Light pollution can affect our ability to see the night stars. It can also hurt our health and the planet. But light is needed to make our cities safe. How can we find a balance? In cities, artificial light comes from street lamps, buildings, signs and cars and blocks out stars in the sky. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs