Mike in MI asked me to recommend a Bollywood film he could check out on Netflix, and I thought others might like my suggestions as well:
hmmm... that's tricky. If you want a dramatic/semi-tragic love story with fantastic visuals & music, check out Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (trans. "I Have Given You My Heart"). If you want something more fun yet still really well made, check out Bunty Aur Babli ("Bunty and Babli") - it's a con-artist comedy.
Now that I consider it, get Bunty - it's just such a funny and sweet movie... less chicky-flicky. (Do NOT get Bride & Prejudice, which was actually shown in the US but sucks terribly - Netflix may recommend it.) If you want to get acclimatized first, do check out Monsoon Wedding, which is an Indian film but not Bollywood, in that it's not a musical. I am still very moved by it; I find some neat analogies to the Bride of Christ and the book of Hosea (although I'm sure it wasn't intended by the filmmaker!) It's much more realistic in its portrayal of Indian life than a Bollywood film, and yet you start to get a sense of how the culture works, and Bollywood seems a logical progression afterwards. This is the first Indian movie I ever saw, and the critics really loved it, with good reason.
I don't expect everyone to enjoy Bollywood, but I went into it hook, line & sinker after a decade of passionate devotion to anime, and there are parallels - it's so reflective of its culture, same as anime is to Japan. It wouldn't look the same anywhere else. And the interesting thing is that in 98% of the movies, there's no sex or kissing, which makes it safe for entire families. B & B is an exception to this rule, but even it is quite tame in comparison to US films. The culture disapproves of PDAs and promiscuity (although it does happen in the big cities), and when one Bollywood starlet was *gasp* reported to have been seen kissing her boyfriend in public! she filed a libel suit and released a statement that she would never do anything so immoral.
So, in order of recommended viewing (not in quality, necessarily):
1) Monsoon Wedding
2) Bunty Aur Babli
3) Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
4) Kabhi Khushi, Kabhie Gham