Step aside Hollywood, Hello Bollywood and Nollywood!


There has been a huge emergence from the global south through industries such as Bollywood and Nollywood. They are now becoming more lucrative and more in demand to a wider audience. This is largely due to globalisation, which has lead to greater integration and interaction between cultures from across the globe. Thus globalisation has led to the emergence of a ‘global cinema’, whereby Hollywood is no longer the significant, ‘hegemonic’ film industry as it once was.

Now Hollywood is competing with another prominent film industry, which i’m sure everyone is aware of — Bollywood.  As David Schaefer and Kavita Karen outline, the economic liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1991, enabled India to emerge as a competitive player on the global landscape in a variety of ways, including as a film industry. India’s film industry has made a name for itself across the globe. It produces a series of three-act romantically structured narratives (an average film running for approximately 3 hours), which are combined with bright colourful clothing and song and dance sequences (otherwise known as ‘Bollywood music’).

The emergence of Bollywood in the western sphere has indeed created this new dimension of cultural hybridity in cinema, which is attracting more viewers both nationally and internationally. Indeed, since India’s economic liberation, Bollywood has undergone the practices of globalisation and glocalisation whereby Indian films have become more westernised. David Schaefer and Kavita Karen outlined that in an extensive content analysis of the 61 highest-grossing Hindi films for each year between 1947 and 2007, they found highly significant post-liberalisation increases in the levels of Western and modern content in popular Hindi films, accompanied by highly significSalaam_Namaste_Audio_Cdant decreases in levels of Indian and traditional content. This analysis is consistent with what I have observed in the cultural transition in Indian films. For example, as David Schaefer and Kavita Karen note, Indian movies have adopted more western-style clothing as opposed to traditional, Indian attire. Foreign countries, particularly the US and UK have also become popular shooting destinations. These features are evident in this Indian film called Salaam Nameste. As you will see in the video, this movie was shot in Australia (Melbourne). The Indian actress here, Preety Zenta is dressed in western attire — something which would appear to be quite unconventional, in the sense it’s more revealing than what was presented usually in traditional, older Bollywood movies.

Furthermore, what i’ve personally observed in the last 10 years is that Bollywood films such as Salaam Nameste, have starting depicting more physically intimate scenes such as kissing in their movies. This is another unconventional feature in Indian cinema as historically it has been more conservative when it comes to physical intimacy. Such acts are usually symbolically conveyed through bollywood songs. Furthermore, Thus this is another Western feature Bollywood has adopted in certain movies. Despite these unconventional, more westernised themes in this movie, it still adopts its classic Bollywood traits such as, the bollywood song and casually breaking out into a dance on the beach and the classic old love story. Thus this is a classic form of Bollywood adopting the practices of cultural hybridity as a means to ‘glocalize’ its content.

As David Schaefer and Kavita Karen claim, the creativity of combining local and global cultural formations enables the subversion of potentially homo-genising forces associated with cultural imperialism. Thus it not only targets and attracts a wider global audience by appealing to their tastes/trends, but it also challenges the cultural western imperialism in cinema.

In contrast to Bollywood, there is Nigeria’s $800 million film industry, Nollywood. It’s a thriving industry that provides employment for about 300 000 people (Marston et al). According to Forbes, after Hollywood, Nollywood is the second largest in the world — event bigger than India’s Bollywood on a per-capita basis. Similar to Bollywood, Nollywood’s video film genres range from action and adventure to historical epics, horror, morality tales and melodramic storylines.

However, a significant point of differentiation of Nollywood from Bollywood is the centrality of ethnicity in Nigerian life which also constitutes a frequent structuring principle in Nollywood video films. Nollywood video films are produced in many of the 250 tribal languages as well as English which allows for a wide international audience of Africans at home and abroad to appreciate them.Furthermore, ‘the success of Nollywood at home is attributed to its status “as an autonomous local cinematic expression that looks inward and not outward” (Okome, 2007, p.1), focusing primarily on the concerns faced by Nigerians in a setting familiar to their own. Nollywood’s “unprecedented success” (Okome, 2007, p.1) in a global landscape is thus what keeps it thriving.’

Want more information? Check out this video below on Nollywood!

Reference List

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

Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial text 3.2.

Marston, S, Woodward K, Jones Paul, John, ‘Flattening Ontologies of Globalization: The Nollywood Case’ Globalizations, vol 4: 1, pp45-63.