The films it produces are mostly in Hindi. They are generally lively, energetic musicals. Bollywood films often have their own sense of internal logic and can be as surreal as any musical produced by American or European studios. The music is generally pre-recorded, sung by a core group of singers, with actors miming the words (known as playback singing). Generally, professional playback singers provide the voices but of late there's a trend of the actors singing for themselves, like Aamir Khan in Ghulam. Bollywood films are often engaging spectacles that tell timeless stories of love and turmoil.
Bollywood films usually feature caucasian looking indians (Aryan as opposed to Dravidic), usually from the northern regions of India. The dancing usually involves very strong and quick body movements, and large groups of dancers.
During the period that Bollywood was not known outside of India and the various Indian communities, a lot of licences were probably used without permission.
Currently due to increased visibility and increasingly large audiences, some Bollywood films can have fairly large budgets, allowing them to use famous film sets such as Hatfield House and Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom. In modern Bollywood films, location shooting is quite important and good sceneries are sought after. However, funding for Bollywood films remains hit-and-miss. There are no large studios which fund films. Often funding comes from private distributors. In 2001 the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's national police agency, seized all prints of Chori Chori Chupke Chupke after the movie was found to be funded by members of the Mumbai underworld.
Another problem facing Bollywood is piracy of its films. Often pirated DVDs arrive before the print for the picture.
The term Bollywood was created by conflating Bombay (the city now called Mumbai) and "Hollywood". Mumbai is a major centre for the production and editing of Indian films.