Monday, May 14, 2007

Bollywood for the NRIs

But is quality suffering?

Image Coutesy :

Bollywood over the last decade has made some great strides as far as theme and quality of movies goes. Over the same period we have also seen an avalanche of movies catering to the Non Resident Indian market. With a very large Diaspora of Indians all over the world Bollywood has gained by playing to these audience’s sentiments about their homeland. With mushy patriotic fares which preach about Indian values and culture Bollywood has managed to hit the nail bang on the “heart” as far as the NRIs are concerned. But is it all at the expense of quality?

Bollywood began catering to the NRI market with movies that dealt with large Punjabi weddings. ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (or more popularly called DDLJ) showed the vast possibilities of the NRI market to Bollywood. But the movie that really exploited its true potential was the movie ‘Taal’, which did more business overseas than in the domestic market. From then on we have seen movies made specifically for the NRI market especially the US and UK sectors. We now have movies about the lives of NRIs, shooting locations all over the world, premiers and award ceremonies all over the world with the intention of giving Bollywood more exposure globally.

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But have we really made any inroads globally? Indian cinema still fails to capture the imagination of audiences who are not of Indian origin. It is still looked upon as elaborate song and dance, melodramatic affairs with little meaning or substance. The only mainstream Bollywood movie to make any sort of inroads in the west was ‘Lagaan’. The reason it did was because it had the technical brilliance and the backing of a brilliant screenplay to make it big anywhere in the world.

In the last one year alone we have had movies like ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehana’, ‘Namastey London’ and ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’ based on the lives of NRIs. All these movies have had varying degrees of success. This is all fine. But what Bollywood should realize is that movies make it big not by targeting a particular audience but by telling good stories. Movie makers should be more concerned with telling a good story in as entertaining a way as possible rather than being concerned with what their audiences would and would not like.

Image Coutesy : sawf.rg

Please do not get us wrong. We are not saying that Bollywood should never make movies about NRIs. What we are saying that they should not be trying to make movies for NRIs alone. By concentrating on a particular market segment alone they are foregoing the opportunity to grow. Such short sighted methods may yield dividends over the short run but it could be harmful in the long run. By concentrating solely on the lives of the affluent classes of the society Bollywood is denying itself the chance to explore the rich and vibrant stories from the other strata of society.

Currently Bollywood is selling itself short by jumping onto one particular bandwagon or the other. They should try to break free of the submissive mindset that has been dogging them and should try to take some calculated risks. For that first of all the industry needs to start dreaming big. Bollywood is just one step away from making it really big internationally. All it needs is just one breakthrough and then the floodgates would open as far as good quality movies go. And they should also learn that the word international does not mean the NRIs alone. We should dream of a day when our movies too are able to break geographical and linguistic boundaries and is watched by everyone and not just NRIs all over the world.


GG said...


I find this blog really informative.

I'm from Sri Lanka, and I have to say that Hindi movies become quite popular from time to time there. I've seen quite a handful myself.

And what I like about Hindi films in general is the sense of humor. However I have to say that most of them have the same 'fairy tale' framework. The one exception I saw was 'Black' that really left me speechless for a long time after I watched it.

Yes I agree that Bollywood needs to look a bit in a different direction if they want to take it global. There's so much potential and such great talent.

Had Amithab Bachchan been in USA, he would have been the next Marlon Brando.

Valéria Borborema said...

Prezado Kerala,

Obrigada pela visita ao meu blog (Apenas uma idéia, só isso...). Você está de parabéns pelo blog. Digo isso, apesar de não entender muito bem inglês.

Sarah said...

Thanks for visiting and enjoy my blog, yours is fine too, if you have really like mine, I also have a blog about my drawings, more personal called ""
Have a nice day
(sorry for my poor english but I try)


nk said...

your blog is cool and origional mine is just copy paste. you are doing great work

nk said...

your blog is cool and origional mine is just copy paste. you are doing great work

Rex Zeitgeist said...

I think the foreing movie craze is a giant waiting to happen in the US.....I grew up overseas so I enjoy movies from all over the world, including Bollywood.....

Someday the craze will catch and the great movies will be seen in America....

Gurb said...

Thank, for your visit...

En reconocimiento le devuelvo la visita, su blog parece que tiene muchos visitantes, contiene artículos interesantes...

Rama Mohan said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog

Your keralaarticals blog is nice. Once I have visited your blog. Will come back.

Gledwood said...

Hey, I was watching Kerala on television this morning. They sent a 17 year old boy from Wales to learn Indian cooking. He had to fish his own fish, slaughter a chicken and pick his own rice. It was really entertaining!

I've been to Goa and Tamil Nadu. Had a wonderful time!!

How did you find me? Did you press "next blog" or was it via "Random Blog Button?" I am supposed to be on both of those things ...

Many thanks for the message. Hope to see you again. Take care


"gledwood vol 2"

Carlo Magno said...

hi there, thanks for browsing my blog and am glad you enjoyed it, yeah, hope to see more messages from you and i promise to keep it as interesting as i can..hehehe

yours is very cool too, informative, nice to see lots of things that i didn't know before.

take care!

carlo magno

purple fly said...

hello, love your blog too...interesting you stopped by mine as i have posted some wonderful India music on my other blog at purpelfly at

google: purplefly

Bombay Dub Orchestra


Bliss said...

my family loves the indian movies and not just bollywood-style. while i do like the romance/wedding movies, i too would love to see more mainstream movies starring indian people. i find their lives interesting (as i do most people from other cultures/countries). i would love to see movies about the every day lives of people from india as well as the type of blockbuster-style movies americans are so fond of, but with the cultural flair of india.

we get a lot of our movies from our public library. more and more the movies i bring home fall into the "foreign film" category.