REV: JULY 9, 2008
GEOFFREY JONES NAMRATA ARORA SURACHITA MISHRA ALEXIS LEFORT
Can Bollywood Go Global?
We are very optimistic that within the next five years a Bollywood movie will match the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the global market. — Indian film producer and director Bobby Bedi, February 27, 20051 Bollywood is considered by many to be the heart of the Indian film industry. Although the format of Bollywood films has changed over the years, a typical film is melodramatic; long (three to four hours); filled with song and dance numbers, elaborate sets, and brightly colored costumes; and based on traditional values such as family and religion. Indian cinema had a predominantly formulaic tradition. At the center of the plot was often a love story, where lovers overcame great odds to be together. A variation on the theme shifted the focus from the love story to a ‘revenge’ saga, often based on the struggle of ‘the common man’ wronged by a powerful villain. The uniqueness of Hindi films was located in the fact that most of them were musicals. The movies are hugely popular in India and South East Asia, but it is still unclear whether Bobby Bedi, a leading producer of Indian films, was being prophetic or merely hopeful. One thing was certain, however: much like the Indian economy, the Indian film industry was also globalizing. The Indian film industry was concentrated in two locations: Mumbai, which mostly made movies in the Hindi language; and Chennai, where films were made in any of the four South Indian languages (see Exhibit 1 for the breakdown of Indian films by language). The Mumbai-based film industry has been called ‘Bollywood’ since the 1970s (Mumbai was known as Bombay until 1995, and the term comes from the combination of the words Bombay and Hollywood; few seem tempted to switch the term to “Mollywood”), and Hindi-language films found an audience across the country because the language was understood by a majority of the... [continues]
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