BIG in Mumbai: The Most Populous City on Earth

But he still lives in Dharavi with his three sisters and their parents in a small home, all six sleeping in one room. He makes enough money to move out, but said he would not, because the home has been in his family for so long.

His co-workers do not know where he lives, Tank said, because they would judge him based on his address. But Tank said he knows better.

"I know that I'm much more different from people who live here," he said. "Even in a slum you find people with very good determination who want to come up in life."

In a symbolic triumph of that dream, Mumbai-based international sensation "Slumdog Millionaire" swept through Hollywood's Academy Awards this year.

But long before "Slumdog," India was no stranger to the silver screen.

Big Time on the Bollywood Silver Screens

Hollywood may be America's home for silver screen stars, but halfway around the world in India, Bollywood is the name of the game. Where Hollywood may produce around 600 movies a year, Bollywood generally puts out double that number.

To produce all those movies, India is home to a 2,500-acre film studio -- the largest in the world.

"Many, many more people watch Bollywood than Hollywood," author Suketu Mehta said. "It is the world's most successful popular art form."

By some counts, nearly a billion more people watch Bollywood films than Hollywood films.

All those people are connected through watching the films, one Bollywood star said, because they tend to deal with universal themes.

"They depict passion. They depict determination. They depict anger," actress Preity Zinta said. "And that with the backdrop of Indian culture and ethics."

Most of the films use a tried and true formula, one audiences have come to expect.

"Bollywood is, simply put, song and dance," Batra said. "It's fantasy, going to this fantasy land of beautiful women and the guy dancing, serenading and getting the girl."

To Anumpama Chopra, a film critic for New Delhi Television 24/7, Bollywood offers something Hollywood has forgotten.

"There's a lot of goodness, truth, honor," Chopra said. "You know all of those things that are harder to find now in Hollywood films. And it's very old fashioned storytelling."

After the wild success of "Slumdog Millionaire," Hollywood is reportedly chasing Bollywood.

Tom Hanks, Will Smith and Brad Pitt are reportedly exploring Bollywood productions.

"A lot of Hollywood actors are working in Bollywood movies. A lot of Bollywood actors are working in Hollywood. And rightly so. Why not?" Batra said.

Anil Kapoor took his first international role in "Slumdog Millionaire," starring as the game show host, but he's a well-known Bollywood star who said Hollywood is giving Bollywood a little more respect these days.

"When I was in L.A. I met quite a few filmmakers and I've already got four scripts," he said. "They want to shoot films in India."

And it's not just Hollywood that has perked up its ears. In France Bollywood stars are very popular; in Russia, Bollywood styles are stealing the fashion scene.

"Indian movies have made their own niche all over the world," Batra said. "I mean, be it Middle East, be it Europe, Russia, everywhere. Everywhere you go people are watching Bollywood movies. And they love it."

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