Essay on Bollywood: Selling Indian Movies in the West

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Selling Indian Movies in the West

India’s most prominent movie industry is known by the name of Bollywood. It recently became the largest movie industry in the world (Jones, Arora, Mishra and Lefort, 2005; Srinivas, 2002). The name Bollywood is a reference to Hollywood, in which the “B” stands for Bombai, the city in which Bollywood originated. Bollywood is making thousands of movies every year with one of the world’s largest audiences. Bollywood has always exported their movies to the exSoviet Union, the Middle East, parts of Africa, South-East Asia, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and wherever there are Indian immigrants in for instance North America, Australia, Hong Kong and the U.K. (Srinivas, 2002).
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So, although the movie themes are universal, its use can be very cultural specific like in the case in Bollywood movies. Obviously, one can conclude that Bollywood movies differ a lot from Hollywood movies. The most striking differences between the movies are due to cultural differences. As previously stated, one can think here of language use, the use of music, and religious elements of Bollywood movies that might not fit the Western audiences. What is more, Indian cinema is constantly criticised for its lack of creativity and for the fact that they use the same plot line over and over again (“Cloning Hollywood”, 2003). On the other hand, Bollywood movies are often inspired by Hollywood movies and vice versa. In accordance, one could argue that Bollywood and Hollywood movies are becoming more alike to a certain extent. However, although the movies are becoming increasingly alike, it remains a fact that in a lot of ways the movies and the industries are still incomparable.

Times are changing, and Bollywood directors are more and more exploring opportunities to sell their movies in the West. However, previous successes are no guaranty for successes in the future. In fact, selling Indian movies to Indian people is remarkably different from selling Indian movies to non-Indian people. Bollywood executives believe