Bollywood and Hollywood do not mix
Hindi films may have made $78 million in the United States in the last 6 months of 2006, but as everyone knows – it’s the NRI’s who are watching the films…not the locals. The reasons why they reject Hindi films are the same as why we watch them. Well, I guess I can’t speak for everybody but I can speak for myself. I watch Hindi films because:
1. I like certain stars (won’t name them here as they are too many of them!) and enjoy watching them on the screen. If I hear that a movie is average but it has my favourite star, I’ll go for it.
2. They are musicals and I enjoy the lyrics
3. Hindi movies can make me cry
4. They endorse family values (too conservative for westerners to digest)
5. They are about brown people and more importantly, I can identify with the issues raised.
These are very reasons are why westerners cannot relate to Bollywood films. But if some of us can relate to Hollywood films, why can’t they relate to Bollywood?
Let’s see why we like Hollywood films. Again, I will speak just for myself. I like Hollywood films because:
1. They are technologically superior which makes for a slicker product
2. Many have universal and more ‘realistic’ themes, that is if you leave out the trash.
3. Acting even by B-grade actors is generally good even if the plot is trash.
4. Important to remember that the mass audience in India can only related to the action movies of Hollywood like Spiderman for example. Or children can related to Harry Potter. But mostly our audience cannot relate to the issues raised in many serious Hollywood movies and frankly at times I find some of their films very artificial (like they find our films artificial). I think to some extent all films are artificial, but we can find something to relate to in a film that is ours and less to relate to in a film that is hollywood.
So this means if Bollywood starts making movies which are technologically superior (which will need lots of money), cut out the song and dance, make movies with universal and realistic themes (Satya) instead of a family oriented tear-jerkers (KANK) then they will break into the Hollywood market?
But wait…this doesn’t mean the so-called ‘crossover’ films like ‘Black’ or even the English language ‘Bride and Prejudice’. These films were far too ‘Bollywood’ to be enjoyed by the western audience. Hindi film directors’ efforts to cater to both markets haven’t worked. Our actors need to learn better acting for one thing.
The only way that Bollywood films can gain a toehold in Hollywood is if they make a completely separate product for that market by a director who understands the western mindset. But then such a film will bomb in India. So what’s the use anyway?
Related Reading: Double digit growth of Bollywood cheques (2006)
Why Bollywood and Hollywood do not mix
The narcism of celebrities
Will Hollywood ever thrash Bollywood?
Bollywood’s booming and star paychecks continue to rise in 2007
More Bollywood: How Aish catapulted to fame 12 years ago
Abhishek and Aish make a good pair
Shilpa Shetty’s Big Brother Reality TV experience
More Hollywood: Indian media’s obsession with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brangelina broke laws when they were in India