Audience in the Middle East feel that Bollywood is losing the plot and going the western way. At the cost of money and by blindly following western films, Bollywood may lose out on some foreign audience, especially in the Middle East, in the long run.
If you’re an Indian or an NRI, you may not probably realize it but Bollywood movies are loved by audiences even in far-off countries, where not many Indians may have been. Take the example of Middle-East (including Israel) where there’s a sizeable audience that loves watching Bollywood movies.
Audience in the Middle-East see Bollywood films differently than NRIs
Ask a young girl or boy in Tel Aviv (financial center of Israel) about Bollywood and you’re likely to hear something like “Seeing the guys and the girls dancing around the trees on various Indian songs makes them truly unique for me”.
Israelis & other middle-eastern countries like Bollywood films for a different reason than say the Indian nationals living abroad. Indians abroad have grown up watching Bollywood films so they are more likely to continue watching them.
However, most Israelis like to see Bollywood films (as compared to Hollywood) because of the cultural values, ethnic diversity and family principles that it portrays. The same would apply to few other middle-eastern countries as well (barring cities like Dubai, Abu-Dhabi where the audience just love Bollywood).
And that’s where many feel that recent Bollywood movies have been lacking. Many feel that Bollywood too is becoming contaminated with western content. And we do agree with that observation!
That is one of the reasons that some Israelis have only watched movies from the 80s and the 90s where almost all the movies focused on India’s cultural values and family principles. Many don’t like the recent bunch of movies as they seem to be missing the Indian ingredient.
“The surrealistic fight scenes and women trying to look lascivious are elements of western society. This is not what Bollywood is about.” We couldn’t agree more with that statement.
So what should Bollywood really depict?
Well, there’s no hard-and-fast rule as to what you show in cinema. But if you were to ask me to give an example, here’s a classic one – Manmohan Desai’s ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ that shows the religious diversity of India, and many more cultural values prevalent to India. And such movies hardly get made nowadays.
Example of ‘Dhoom 3’
Even though, you do see some recent movies that try to convey an essence of the Indian culture, they are far and few in between. One of the major blockbusters of Indian cinema, ‘Dhoom 3’ was an incredible success financially, but wasn’t it trying to clone a Hollywood film? Where is the Bollywood part in it, barring the song and dance (even they looked western).
Almost the entire film is based in Chicago, with several sequences incorporated from other Hollywood movies. So, if a Bollywood movie is only going to have Indian actors and crew members, then can you really call it a Bollywood movie? Why not make a Hollywood movie instead?
Bollywood could be losing some foreign audience
People living in India and NRIs who actively follow Bollywood have seen how rapidly the face of Indian cinema has changed. With too much western influence, Indian film makers probably are not sure what constitutes a Bollywood production.
In the recent past, audiences from certain foreign countries were willing to learn more about India, and its culture, through Bollywood films, specifically the audience in Israel. But if Bollywood is going the western way, they would rather watch Hollywood films instead.