The Globalization of Bollywood: Through a New Perspective
Now in a culture strongly influenced by technology, communicating with an individual across the world is simple with the free program Skype. Also, travelling is becoming more popular; I have visited both of my grandparent’s home countries before either of my parents. Living in Canada, going to the University of Toronto, I see different cultures living, learning, and interacting together in one community. We are living in a very globalized world. Many would believe globalization is a wonderful term, yet the definition presents a few negatives. Globalization can bring changes that stray away from cultures deep traditions. For example, in the article “The Globalization of Bollywood: An Ethnography of Non-Elite Audiences in India”, it talks about how Bollywood films are currently influenced by Western themes and cultures. As result, the globalization of Bollywood is slowly diminishing India’s unique culture and film genre. With Bollywood turning Hollywood, it is believable that Western media may be directing several countries in a linear perspective. However, the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” portrayed the positives of globalization. Although Bollywood has strayed away from its original roots, “Slumdog Millionaire” brings back the excitement of Bollywood traditions through a U.K. production. Furthermore, the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” falls under a drama-romance category, but with the heavy Bollywood influence the film brings a relief from popular western themes.
“Slumdog Millionaire” is a successful Bollywood influenced film created by British director Danny Boyle and Indian co-director Loveleen Tandan and based on the novel “Q&A” by Vikas Swarup. It was released in 2008, almost not making theatres and now has won 93 awards, including 8
Oscars. The main character of the film is Jamal Malik, an 18-year-old orphan. He lives in Mumbai working as a chaiwalla (tea server) at Exel5mobile. Jamal has a troubled childhood growing up with his cold-hearted brother; but through all his misfortune he has found his one true love, Latika. With that said, the tagline of the move is: “What does it take to find a lost love? A. Money, B. Luck, C. Smarts, or D. Destiny.” In addition, Latika somehow disappears from Jamal’s life and he ends up on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” with hope that she will be watching. He is one question away from winning 20 million rupees when he is arrested for suspicion of cheating. How could a boy raised in the slum be able to know so much? Each question that is asked, coincidently, reveals a chapter of his life. He retells his encounters with violence, death, thief, and losing the love of his life. As he justifies each answer by explaining his knowledge of the questions, Jamal proves his innocence. Perhaps the answer is D. Destiny. Extreme riches are only one question away. Jamal has the chance of having nothing and ending up with everything, which seems similar to the American dream. Although the theme of money and love with a happy ending is typically a western theme, Jamal could care less about the money. Therefore, “Slumdog Millionaire” has developed worldwide recognition through its unique setting, culture, and theme of true love.
What set’s this film apart from Bollywood movies, even though “Slumdog Millionaire” is only Bollywood influenced, is that it is quite realistic. Present Bollywood films show India in a simulacra state, displaying “hyper-real representations of the world in media which often conceals the absence of reality or substitutes reality.” In addition, the dream world of simulacra makes the audience of India feel alienated, unable to relate to their own culture displayed in movies. However, “Slumdog Millionaire” did not glamorize India while showing parts of India to be dirty, sexist, violent, and poor. The film starts off with kids playing in the dumps, being beat up by authority and...
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