I recently saw the 1944 Hollywood musical film Cover Girl staring Rita Hayworth. I was shocked by how similar it was to a typical Bollywood movie;

The plot was very simple; it went like this:

  1. The lead actress has a good but ambiguous relationship with the lead actor.
  2. Circumstances lead to their separation
  3. Their love, and well placed priorities, allow their reunification
  4. Happily ever after

And every few minutes, there was stunning dancing and singing. When the movie was done, I really felt like I had just watch a fantastic Bollywood movie. The question:

Did Cover Girl, or similar American films influence Indian Cinema, or were American films like this one influenced from elsewhere? When and how did this happen? Is there an old movie that was more influential than the rest in this regard?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


The plot summary you provide would describe practically every musical ever made, and musicals contain singing and dancing by definition. A very high proportion of movies, let alone musicals, consist of:

  • boy meets girl
  • boy loses girl
  • boy gets girl.

You've left out most of the actual plot of Cover Girl. It would be a more interesting question if all Bollywood movies also contained a backstory about the mother played by the same actress, which obviously they don't. You write as though that was the only musical ever made in Hollywood. You need to see more Hollywood musicals. Then you might realize that all musicals are pretty much alike.

Re your now deleted comments, neither Sound of Music nor Pennies from Heaven are typical Hollywood musicals, most of which were made in the 1930s to 1950s, and I wouldn't describe The Blues Brothers as a musical at all: for example, the songs are just inserts which don't advance the plot, and there is no dancing at all. The term 'Hollywood musical' applies to a specific genre which died in about 1957, with specific characteristics derived from stage musicals and operetta. It doesn't just mean any old film with songs made in Hollywood.

I direct you first of all to the 1930s RKO Astaire-Rogers series of about 8 movies, most of which exhibit all the feafures you mention in your question. And they were not the first.

  • A particular similarity of this pattern can be seen in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 0:04
  • @Catija Times seven, but it's pointless to enumerate all the musicals that do that when there are hundreds. It would be more to the point to enumerate the exceptions.
    – user207421
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 0:59

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