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.