Bollywood sings the Hollywood tune

Posted on March 27, 2011

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By: Kabeer Mahajan

The traditional recipe for a Hindi blockbuster film is pretty simple. A macho hero, an attractive sultry heroine, five songs shot in exotic locations and the baddie getting beaten to death at the end. So standardized is it that such films are usually referred to as ‘masala’ films. The Hindi film industry colloquially called ‘Bollywood’ is the most prolific in the world; it churns out more than twice the number of films as Hollywood.

But off late there has been a swing in fortunes, Hollywood movies are increasingly finding a foothold in what many suggest is the world’s largest cinema market, India.

The Indian urban elite are increasingly catching a fancy for a dose of Hollywood. “Hollywood films, with sleek production values, speedy narration techniques & new script ideas, provide what mainstream Hindi cinema sorely lacks today. Increasingly, Bollywood is recycling old plots & the same stars, thereby leading to severe fatigue.” Says Archita Kashyap, Entertainment Editor at Times Now, one of India’s leading English news outlets.

In the last 3 years there has been an increase in the interest level in niche Hollywood films in the metro cities. Be it The Social Network, The King’s Speech this year or the runaway hit Inception that survived in theaters for 6 weeks, these films found steady audiences

The one major reason for this shift has been the evolution of the multiplex culture in India. in a day & age when the cost of a trip to the multiplex for a family of four is almost 1500 INR, watching a Hollywood animation flick like Shrek, Cars 2 or Toy Story 3 makes a lot more sense than trying out a ‘masala’ Hindi film”, says Archita.

Increasingly Hollywood movies are finding a foot hold in non metro markets too. Dubbed into the local language, fantasy and live action movies have a huge following in hinterland. Franchises like Harry Potter have been resounding hits at the box office.

Bollywood isn’t likely to be mowed over by movies from the west, but increasingly it faces a stiffer challenge to sway people to the screens.

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Posted in: Film