Bolly, Nolly and Hollywood

The new millennium saw the rise of the internet, satellite networks, cable television, and DVD distribution. With this new technology scholars are increasingly predicting that Asian and Indian film industries, particularly with the rise of Bollywood and Nollywood, will wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance. (Schaefer and Karan, 2010)

Nollywood is Nigeria’s film industry which in 2007 produced 1,687 feature films, making it the third largest film industry in the world. ‘The cinematic phenomenon that was inaugurated in Lagos, has known an unprecedented measure of success in its homeland and is beginning to make its mark outside this home turf’. (Okome, 2007) Nollywood films are filmed and edited quickly so that they are readily made direct to video therefore eliminating movie screenings. The films draw on traditional characters and situations as well as television serials with a mix of melodrama and magical culture.

In both Bollywood and Nollywood film makers are mixing both global and local elements to appeal to audience tastes and trends. The East Asian film industries of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan along with famous martial arts stars including Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have helped to generated millions of dollars through the Hollywood film industry.

The rising success of Bollywood and Nollywood is creating contra flow, which is resulting in a shift of cultural influences to the global south. This cultural shift is merging western and eastern cultures through the emergence of hybrid films. ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Slumdog Billionaire’ and ‘Monsoon Wedding’ are all examples of hybridized films resulting in an Eastern movie for Western audiences. ‘Slumdog Billionaire’ despite being Bollywood influenced, was produced and funded by an American company. ‘Monsoon Wedding’ was the only Hindi-oriented film produced. At the box office it generated $13.5 million but it was produced not by an Indian company, but by IFC Films of New York, a subsidiary of the American cable channel programmer Rainbow Media. (Schaefer and Karen, 2010)

While some East Asian movies have generated huge theatrical profits in North America, the majority have failed to enter the market. Hollywood have seen the mass audience and distribution of films produced by Bollywood and Nollywood and have hybridized into the market. Schaefer and Karen state that American film industry has taken the Bollywood theme and developed it to the western market to generate profit. “Bollywoodization appears to have been absorbed into the conglomerate multicultural marketing toolkit, prompting us to question whose economic interest actually is being served by the soft power potential of the Indian film industry and its cinematic contra-flows”. (Schafer and Karen, 2010)

Reference List:

Okome, O. 2007, Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption, Accessed: 24th August, 2014

Schaefer, D. & Karen, K. 2010, Global Media and Communication, Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows, Accessed: 24th August, 2014


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