Globalisation & the Media: Bollywood

Changes that have shaped the collective consciousness of our people have happened before in our history: think antiquity, renaissance, enlightenment. Just like the original enlightenment in the 18th century that wasn’t an exact, cohesive movement, with a defined start and finish – globalisation is a 21st century process, changing the core ideals that shape the values, norms and lifestyles in our new global village.

In the same way that Hollywood is producing films that have great success internationally, the East Asian film industry has successfully mixed unique cultural content such as martial arts and Wuxia narratives into films that appeal particularly to Western audiences (Shaefer & Karan, 2010). The globalisation of India’s film industry began in the late 20th century and the 2000’s saw a growth in Bollywood’s popularity throughout the world. While Western influences have contributed to the nation’s filmmaking improvements in terms of quality, cinematography and innovative story lines, as well as technical advances in areas such as animation, the films are uniquely Bollywood. The Indian film industry as a global media source has hybridized in order to accommodate for a wider and growing international audience. For promotional purposes, many of the films are shot abroad in order to generate vast media publicity during filming, for example the Sydney filming of ‘Step Mom’ by one of Bollywood’s most iconic filmmakers, Karan Johar caused massive media stir in late 2011. In addition to filmmaking, film production has seen change with scripts incorporating more English words/phrases and many films produced with English subtitles. Similarly the dancing in modern Bollywood films is said to blend contemporary Western, Latin, and Arabic dance styles with traditional Indian dancing.

Thanks to globalisation,  Bollywood has transcended geographical boundaries. Many Indian films are not only making more money outside the Indian market but also attracting foreign producers and directors to the industry including Gurinder Chadha (Bride and Prejudice) and Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding). In addition Several Indian film personalities have received recognition abroad as well such as A.R. Rahman, who composed and collaborated with the Pussycat Dolls for the hit song “Jai Ho” for the 2008 British film “Slumdog Millionaire”. Slumdog Millionare went on to be nominate for 10 Acadmy Awards in 2009, winning eight, the most for any film of 2008 including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA Awards, five Critics Choice Awards and four Golden Globes.

The globalisation of media promotes cultural diversity of the world where ‘the melting pot of different cultures’ (Shimemura, 2002) is given the opportunity to become a reality and the transnational film industry is a platform for this to happen.

References

Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’ Global Media and Communication Vol 6: 3, pp. 309-316

Shimemura, Y. 2002. Globalization vs. Americanization: Is the World Being Americanized by the Dominance of American Culture. Comparative Civilizations Review, 47 (Fall), pp. 80-85.

Soo Yee Ho 2004, “Is Bollywood an Imitation of Hollywood?”Film International, , no. 11, pp. 38.

Takhar, A. & Maclaran, P. 2012, “Bollywood cinema’s global reach: consuming the “Diasporic consciousness”‘, Journal of macromarketing, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 266-279.

Voltmer, Katrin. (2008). ‘Comparing media systems in new democracies: East meets South meets West’. Central European Journal of Communication, Vol.1 No.1.

 

 

Australians are the best, right?

Since my first year of study at UOW in 2011 I have always held a romanticised notion of international exchange. Seeing two of my close friends take on the college life, one in Colorado, USA and the other in Exeter, UK sparked a lot of (polite) jealousy. For me, international exchange is probably never going to happen: Reason 1 being my absolutely inability to save any of the money that I earn on a weekly basis. Reason 2 being the lack of international universities that will allow me to study law. Studying a double degree in Law/Communications here at UOW, deciding to study overseas would probably mean having to defer my Law degree for 6 months, which will ultimately extend my time here at university to 6 whole years. No thank you, 5.5 is time enough. So what is it that makes internationalising education, not only appealing, but important in our global context?

  • Along with globalisation comes what is termed ‘Globalised Industry’. In order for Australia to compete in a global market, we must think and operate in with a more global mindset which can be helped along through internationalising education.
  • As the world become connected, so too do our workforces. Learning to become global citizens in an international workforce is so important not only due to the many multi-national companies that offer employment within Australia, but for the sharing of knowledge and skills between countries.
  • International education is so important as we come to understand global issues as they are represented in the media and the world around us. It promotes cross-cultural thinking and understanding.
  • The rise of the ‘Asian Century’ and BRICS economies, makes it more important than ever for Australians to learn to be global citizens, not only economically but in other facets of our lives as well.

Despite my desire to travel overseas, I believe that its not just be travelling to other countries that we receive the richest intercultural experiences, but also by sharing experiences of international students within Australia universities.  Unfortunately  for us, as well as our international compatriots,  Australian universities aren’t renowned for our welcoming attitude, especially in light of the 2009-2010 attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Kell & Vogl note that there is an interconnection between English language proficiency of international students and social interaction. Earlier in he article that pair notes that  “a crucial element in the achievement of success for international students is not only their academic adjustment but also their adjustment to the social and cultural environment”. So why is it so hard for international students to adjust? Why do they need to develop cultural plurality, multiplicity and hybridity in order to feel at home within our Australian cultural setting?

I believe the answer to that is the ethnocentric culture that forms the values and attitudes ‘ordinary Australians’ (however you may define them) have towards different cultures and traditions. For such a multi-cultural society it’s not uncommon, even at university, to hear the odd racist quip or parochial remark from our peers. To think that, as dicussed by Kell & Vogl ‘Australians can appear ambivalent, distant and disinterested in international students are foreigners in general’, is both distasteful and worrying.  In an effort not to pigeon-hole all Australians, it does still seem to me that we share in a culture that boasts a pinch of arrogance. As if we have something to teach foreign students-  they should learn off us. Whereas the reality is so very different. As we being to operate as global citizens in our rapidly changing world especially. We, as Australian domestic students, have so much to learn from the tenacity, self motivation, independence and direction of international students.  If only everyone could recognise that, we could make university life a little more culturally enriching for all.