Driven by the growth and spread of the Indian diaspora in recent decades, the popular Bollywood film has become a ubiquitous presence in theaters and film festivals across the globe. Bollywood remains an exceptional industry that has successfully resisted the onslaught of Hollywood films in the country of its birth. What makes Hindi cinema different? How are such a staggering number of films made in India? How do these ‘song and dance’ movies challenge our perceptions of narrative forms? How do Bombay films negotiate the polarities of tradition and modernity? How do they bear the burden of postcoloniality? Despite the plethora of languages and cultures that comprise India, how does Hindi cinema maintain its hegemonic position both within the subcontinent and without? What is the status of Bollywood as a national cinema? These are some of the larger questions with which we will engage in this canopic overview.