Culture Guide for Expat

Bangalore is a rich city when it comes to culture. Home to Kollywood, there are also numerous options for English/Foreign films, music and theatre.


Bangalore gives you plenty of options to watch your favourite movies. ‘Kollywood’, Karnataka’s Kannada version of Hollywood and Bollywood, is popular with locals, however English subtitles are very rare, making it difficult for non-Kannada speakers to enjoy the full experience. Bollywood films are also prevalent, though again few have subtitles for the cinema viewing. Because of the high level of melodrama and over-acting these films are known for, language isn’t necessarily needed to follow the plot.

Hollywood blockbusters can be seen in the multiplexes almost as soon as they are released in the West, though the selection is generally limited to action and animated films. Most of these movies are ‘cut’ by the Indian Censor Board before being cleared for Indian audiences. Popular Hollywood movies are generally shown in English, however, occasionally Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions of these movies are screened simultaneously, for example the Hindi version of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was screened all over Bangalore as ‘Slumdog Crorepati’. Be sure to check what language (and if subtitles) will be screened.

Movie halls in Bangalore often go ‘House Full’ so it is good idea to pre-book tickets before you head out to watch a movie, especially if it involves a long commute. All the multiplex cinema halls mentioned above allow you to book online through their sites or using the phone. Bookmyshow ( is another site that offers this facility in multiple theatres across Bangalore.

Some of the popular multiplex cinema halls are listed below:

Rex, Symphony & Kaveri are three old, but popular, movie theatres in Bangalore.

For international films, the Bangalore Film Society plays some really good ones, often hosting film festivals, and you can become a member for a nominal fee. For more information:

DVD rentals

You will find abundant opportunities for DVD purchase/rental at very low prices (rentals as low as Rs 20/day). Ask for the local ‘DVD library’ when you move into a new area and someone will guide you to a local shop that runs a library-like lending operation. You can also opt for online DVD rental services that offer yearly memberships and monthly packages.

Some of the DVD rental companies in Bangalore are:


Though Bangalore still has a long way to go before it can be proudly compared with Mumbai and Delhi for its theatre, the English theatre scene is growing. Playwright Arundhati Nag’s theatre space Ranga Shankara in South Bangalore [Phone: 26592777] is popular for plays and organises regular workshops for artists. It also hosts the annual theatre festival in Bangalore. You can see their monthly schedule of activities by logging on to their website:

Chowdaiah Memorial Hall (Vyalikaval) is a violin-shaped auditorium that hosts regular classical music performances, as well as film, dance, and drama. [Phone: 23445810]

Other cultural centres and galleries hosting cultural events are:


Local newspapers are best to keep up with the numerous cultural events happening in Bangalore. As is Time Out magazine:

Alternatively, you can visit these websites: