By Julia Riley


Bollywood is the name for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, India. Bollywood movies typically have a bit of everything: song and dance, romance, comedy, and a few thrills thrown in for good measure. Teens will get a taste of Indian culture with authentic film, food, and crafts.

Books to Share

Bollywood Crafts: 20 Projects Inspired by Popular Indian Cinema by Momtaz Begum-Hossain
Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema by Tejaswini Ganti
The Essential Guide to Bollywood by Subhash K. Jha
Fantasies of a Bollywood Love Thief: Inside the World of Indian Moviemaking by Stephen Alter
Teens in India by Lori Shores

Books to Show or Booktalk

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen by Mitali Perkins
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
Shiva's Fire by Suzanne Fisher Staples


Indian Cuisine

Let teens get a feel for the real flavor of Bollywood with Indian cuisine. Ordering a few entrees from a local Indian restaurant will give teens an opportunity to taste test unfamiliar dishes. Indian foods, such as naan, hummus, samosas, and Darjeeling tea may also be found in many local grocery stores.

Audio Recordings

The Best of Bollywood: 15 Classic Hits from the Indian Cinema by Various Artists
The Essential Guide to Bollywood by Various Artists
The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold by Various Artists


  • Black construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Chalk (white and colored)
  • Pencils

Rangoli, a form of sand painting decoration commonly done outside homes, is one of the most popular art forms in India. Designs are usually inspired by nature. Teens can create their own rangoli using construction paper and chalk. Use the ruler and pencils to create a grid of dots on the paper. The closer together the dots are drawn, the more intricate the design will be. Using white chalk, create an outline. Rangoli coloring pages, like those found at Activity Village,, and other internet sites can serve as inspiration or templates. After the design has been drawn on the black construction paper, use the colored chalk to fill in the outline and complete the design.


(Adapted from Bollywood Crafts by Momtaz Begum-Hossain)

  • Round sequins (various sizes)
  • Seed beads
  • Craft gems
  • Swarovski crystals
  • 1 ½ inch pin backs
  • Craft glue
  • Toothpicks

Using a toothpick, apply a thin line of craft glue along the edges of the pin back. Place sequins around the edge, patting each item down into the glue with a toothpick. Add a seed bead to the center of each sequin, and add a larger sequin and a Swarovski crystal to the middle of the pin. Fill in the remaining area with sequins, adding craft gems on top of the sequins. Teens will likely have their own design ideas, and the possibilities are endless.

Games and Activities

Bollywood Film Screening

If you have public performance rights, offer a screening of a Bollywood (or Bollywood-inspired) film. I Have Found It, Jab We Met, The Namesake, and Kashmir Ki Kali are all Bollywood films that may be of interest to teens. Another option would be screening a popular Bollywood-inspired film, such as Bride & Prejudice, or a film that explores modern Indian culture, such as Bend It like Beckham.


Mehndi is the application of henna to the skin as a temporary decoration. Typically it is applied for special occasions, such as weddings and festivals. It is usually applied on the palms and feet. Offer mehndi to teens by hiring a local mehndi artist or purchasing the supplies from Amazon, Although mehndi is temporary, it is recommended that libraries require signed permission slips from parents in order for a teen to participate in the activity. Send teens home with a tip sheet that explains how to care for the mehndi and extend its durability.

  • Avoid water for the first 24 hours. Use vegetable oil or lemon juice to remove excess paste from the skin.
  • Rub your mehndi with vegetable oil before bathing or swimming to protect it from the water.
  • Avoid excess rubbing of the area with the design. Frequent hand washing will cause the design to fade more quickly.

Combining the Bollywood Film Screening and a mehndi artist is recommended, as mehndi should stay on the skin for at least an hour to dry properly.


Bride & Prejudice (107 minutes)
Classic Bollywood Music Videos (92 minutes)
Lagaan (224 minutes)
Paheli (200 minutes)
The Story of India (360 minutes)

Professional Resources


"More than Monkeys, Maharajoahs, and Mangoes: South Asian Literature for Young Readers" by Pooja Makhijani. VOYA, April 2010, pp. 14-17.
Makihijani offers a bibliography of well-crafted contemporary, historical, and fantasy fiction featuring South Asia (a term for the seven countries that make up the Indian Subcontinent).

Web Sites

Described as the guide for clueless fans of Hindi films, this site features a helpful FAQ page and a list of the top 10 Bollywood films.

This is an excellent overview of basic information about Hindi cinema. Entertainment news, movie, music and fashion reviews
A thorough resource for news and information on the Bollywood film industry, the web site also includes lyrics for the songs featured in Bollywood movies.

Diwali Rangoli
This page provides more information on how rangoli is used, as well as common designs and themes.

Explore: Cultural and Educational Films and Photos
Search for 'India' to find high-quality online videos and films covering India's animals, culture, and daily life.

Diwali Rangoli Patterns
This page features rangoli patterns with varying degrees of intricacy.

The Henna Page
This web site lists numerous mehndi resources, including step-by-step how-to and information on the science and history of mehndi.

Planet Bollywood
Search this web site for reviews of upcoming films, music reviews, and stills from Bollywood films.


Texas Teens Read 2011! Programming Manual / Going Global, Staying Connected!
Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: August 15, 2011