There’s no doubt that India’s movie industry is one of the most prolific in the entire world. Luckily, Sydney has a plethora of cinemas where you can go to see the latest Hindi, Bollywood and Kollywood movies.
Indian-born migrants make up the third largest population group in Sydney. Parramatta, Wentworthville, Girraween and Rosehill are where many people of Indian background live in Sydney.
For those who are not Indian but are fascinated by the culture, watching these highly entertaining movies is a great way of immersing yourself. Bollywood is India’s answer to Hollywood and the industry itself is one of the country’s biggest exports. Whilst the US released 476 films in 2012, Bollywood outdid even itself with 1,602 films!
Even Bollywood’s megastars are paid stratospheric figures. For instance, Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is worth around $600 million USD whilst Tom Cruise, a mere $480 million USD by comparison.
Bollywood is the name given to the film industry of Mumbai which, formerly known as Bombay, is where the ‘B’ comes from. ‘Kollywood’ refers to Tamil cinema, ‘Tollywood’ to Telugu cinema (and sometimes also Bengali cinema), ‘Lollywood’ to Pakistani cinema (after Lahore), ‘Pollywood’ to Punjabi cinema and there is even ‘Mollywood’ (Kerala cinema)!
As the industries churn out more and more movies, Sydney cinemas clamour to show them to eager audiences here.
You’re in luck! Sydney’s large Indian population means that Bollywood (and other ‘-ollywood’ films) are regularly shown in cinemas. English subtitles are usually included with these screenings.
Flicks.com.au is one of the best sites for finding out where you can see Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil movies and more! It has a dedicated page for Bollywood movies. You can go in there, choose one of the movies that’s currently playing, watch the trailer, add the movie to your watchlist and check out the times and locations where you can see it.
India2Australia is a great resource for Indian ex-pats in Australia. It’s a website that covers all kinds of categories including events, food, Aussie festivals, celebrations, technology, social media, careers, finance and more. Their Movies section features movie reviews, news about the film industry in India and it also lists which cinemas are showing particular movies, throughout Australia, and their release dates.
There’s a public Meet-Up group in Sydney that gets together to watch Bollywood movies on the big screen. It’s called ‘Movie Buffs in Sydney (Hindi, Bollywood, Masala)’. Take a look and you could be joining other passionate Bollywood fans at the movies.
You may or may not find a Bollywood film at Govinda’s but it’s a well-loved Sydney institution situated in Darlinghurst. The movies shown there are mostly latest releases but the true appeal lies in the gourmet vegetarian all-you-can-eat buffet.
Enjoy vegetable curries, lentil pie, cauliflower pakoras, dahl, samosas and kofta balls. Inside the cinema itself, you get to take off your shoes and sit on comfy floor cushions. If you prefer, there are tub chairs and couches. It’s a great date night venue!
Bollywood is big business, not just for India but also for countries where some of them are filmed. Back in 2005, the blockbuster romantic comedy Salaam Namaste was filmed entirely in Australia, mostly in Melbourne. Dil Chahta Hai was filmed in Sydney, with the song Jaaney Kyun shot with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House as the backdrop.
Shaadi Ke Side Effects which starred Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan was shot in Queensland and Singhh is Kingg in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. These are just a few of the movies whose producers identified Australia as a prime shooting location.
If you want to know where everything Indian-style is happening in Sydney, you might want to join the ‘Sydney Indians and Indophiles’ Meet-Up group. With nearly 4,000 members, there’s always something happening. Go along to a curry festival, celebrate Diwali, get together for drinks to mark the India vs Australia Test Match, meet new friends at Friday drinks, take a cruise on Sydney Harbour with other Australian Indians, spend a Saturday at a picnic, try go-karting, join others for dinners, ten pin bowling and yes, of course, for Bollywood movie events.
For great Indian food, Harris Park has a Little India which offers the most delicious street food you’ll find in Sydney. Go to Marion Street and your tastebud journey will start there. Grab a vegetarian thali and some gulab jamin, tuck into some delicious dosas, fill up on curry and rice and be sure to pick up some sweets.
Or, head to Parramatta for really good Indian food from a variety of regions. Just a 25-minute train ride from Central Station, Parramatta will seduce you with its aromas of spice, its colourful Indian grocers and the myriad food outlets.
If you find yourself living or staying in Sydney and missing a piece of home, you won’t be lonely or sad for long. You’ll always find somewhere to watch your beloved Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood movies and there are tons of places to satisfy your cravings for home-style foods.