Is Bollywood Shining in Asia?
As Smith, a columnist for Articlemyriad, mentioned, “Far from being mere entertainment, though, the Bollywood movies represent a powerful means of self- and community expression which Indians are using to define themselves in front of the rest of the world,” (Smith) Exploring the Bollywood movie and its emergency in Asia is an effective way to see whether India has some common culture elements with other Asian countries and whether they are integrating under the impulsion of culture. Dudrah (2006) mentioned in his book Bollywood: Sociology Goes to the Movies, “Bollywood, the moniker for popular Hindi cinema from Mumbai, India, has become an important catchword in the vocabulary of global South Asian popular culture.” (Dudrah, 2006) It demonstrates that Indian culture dominates in South Asia. However, with the success Three Idiots achieved in Asia, some people began to consider the situation of Bollywood in Asia. “Bollywood is a real buzz word at the moment,” said Vinay Virmani, writer and actor of Breakaway, in an interview, “I think that's because Bollywood has been able to translate beyond the whole south Asian community." (Mahmood & Mitra, 2011)This opinion is true but maybe too simple as he just considered about the popularity. The opinion I want to argue in this paper is that although Bollywood movies become popular in Asia, the commercial profit they gained is still limited. Maybe Three Idiots, the most successful Bollywood movie in recent years, is the best representative of Bollywood movies which are facing such an embarrassing situation. “Have you seen the Three Idiots second time?” It may be the first reaction when Hong Kong people talked about this famous Indian movie. It is amazing that a Bollywood movie gained such huge success in Hong Kong. In fact, Three Idiots has run for 13 weeks since it was released in Hong Kong in September, 2011. It broke the spell that “Normally, a Bollywood Film in China and Hong Kong would run in select multiplexes for 1 to 2 weeks.” (3 Idiots Rocks in China & Hong Kong, 2011)Although it gained high praise in Hong Kong and other Asia countries, the box-office contributed by Asian countries was still limited. According to the statistics from Box Office Mojo, 60.8% box-office of Three Idiots came from India (3 IDIOTS box office, 2011) and it was released in only six other Asia countries (or areas), which are Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan. (3 Idiots)
Why Bollywood becomes popular in Asia
1) Thanks to Slumdog Millionaire
Slumdog Millionaire tells a story happened in Indian slums. It is made by Hollywood but full of Bollywood characters, which made many audiences mistake it for a Bollywood movie. As it won the top prize at the Academy Awards and eight Oscars in total including best director and best picture, (The Oscars 2009, 2009) it appealed to more audiences, especially Asians, who regard the Academy Prize as the highest honor of a movie. It took $2,280,068 in its first week in China and $930,097 in Hong Kong. (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE-box office, 2009) With the influence of Slumdog Millionaire, people would like to see Bollywood movies with huge interest and curiousness. Bollywood movie become a hit to Asian audiences. 2) A mirror of the issues faced by Asia
It is obvious to see the changes in Bollywood movies when comparing those new successful movies with the old ones. The traditional stories about revenge or the love between a rich woman and a penniless man have already been out of date. New Bollywood movies focus more on the modern issues faced by many other Asian countries as well. The issues always mentioned are never leaving ethnic and religious conflicts, gap between the rich and poor and education. For instance, the Three Idiots mentioned before exposed the education problems existing in many Asian countries. The film is about three students who do not fit the traditional and...
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