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Bollywood: The World's Biggest Film Industry - BBC2

Bollywood: The World's Biggest Film Industry - shows Anita Rani dancing
(Image credit: BBC/Raw TV/Sarah Muhsen)

Anita Rani explores the world of Indian cinema, revealing the stories and secrets behind an industry that employs more than a quarter of a million people

Producing over 1,000 movies every year – more than twice as many as Hollywood – Bollywood is now the largest film industry on the planet.

In this colourful two-part documentary, Anita Rani heads to the Indian subcontinent to show us what goes on behind the scenes in this incredible movie-making powerhouse.

The tale of the industry’s origins in centuries of Indian culture is fascinating, yet the highlight of this opening episode is the Countryfile presenter’s dance lesson with Bollywood star Anil Kapoor.

Bollywood: The World's Biggest Film Industry shows Anita Rani and Sidharth Malhotra

Anita with Sidharth Malhotra in Mumbai

Later on, the pair hit the streets together and Anita soon realises why actors, including Sidharth Malhotra, are called ‘demi-gods’ in India…

After the trip, TV Times caught up with Anita, who was still a little star-struck…

'I was on set speaking to the film director and he asked if I’d like to be an extra. They got a costume and in I went, which was a bit nerve-racking, because Bollywood dancing is pretty difficult.

'It was great fun, but I could have done with a bit more practice!' admits Anita

'They call Bollywood stars demi-gods out there, because they’re not like the stars we have in the West, they’re far bigger.

'It’s how I imagine Hollywood in the 1950s, with Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, that level of stardom.

'These guys can’t walk down the street in India,' she says. 'They love coming to London in the Summer because they can potter around the city and aren’t recognised as much.'

TV Times rating: *****