Bollywood Vs. Hollywood

In this blog, I am going to discuss ways in which the West has influenced the East.  Specifically, I am going to be talking about South East Asia, for example countries such as India and Pakistan.  Currently India and Pakistan are heavily influenced by the Western world.  Both of these countries have been rapidly expanding and developing due to globalization.  However, their rich cultures and traditions have been slowly disappearing.

In India, the predominant religion is Hinduism, where it is practiced by 80.5% of the population.  Hinduism, an ancient religion is based on the core belief in Brahman.  With this, comes a whole society based on a Hindu religion and culture.  Yet one can argue, that since the time of colonization and now globalization, the Western World has been threatening these ancient Hindu cultures and traditions.  Now, if this is an overall bad result for India’s culture and civilization, is a whole different argument.  I’m just arguing that their current modern culture resembles less of their own, and more of the West.

Currently, one of the biggest industries in India is film. They have created this mass phenomenon, known as Bollywood.  The title Bollywood represents the current cinema industry in Mumbai.  Yet it originates from America’s film industry based in Hollywood, California.  One difference between the two is that Hollywood is an actual place in Los Angeles, California.  Bollywood, on the other hand is not an actual place, yet has come to exist as if it was. Bollywood has therefore created a space for it’s self, which people not only recognize, but also regard as high value.  Yet, I believe India also created a space for it’s self under America, by the title of Bollywood.  There can only be one Hollywood, and anything that is an imitation of the original will always be considered a reproduction.  The original is the most valued, while any branch under it is solely simulated.  I personally think that this subconsciously puts India in the minds of youth as less then America.  India has rich ancient roots in art, music, and literature.  If this was taken to create an original, separate identity of entertainment in India, I believe it would be a lot stronger.  The youth in India would believe in their country, and culture to produce something authentic, versus trying to emulate the West.  Even though Bollywood is very successful, and highly respected, I think overtime this industry will expire.

Bollywood itself as a whole has transformed through the years.  I remember growing up and watching some Bollywood films with my family.  They would be conservative to the level of the male and female not even being able to hold hands.  The women also dressed very modest, where you wouldn’t be able see their stomachs or legs.  Yet now when I have seen Bollywood films, where the women bare all skin, the films take place in Western countries, and they now show full sex scenes.  This drastic transformation of Bollywood represents the cultural change of Indian society.  One could argue that this new Bollywood is getting closer to that of Hollywood.  These Indian films are changing their clothes, culture, and lifestyle represented in the film, closer to that of Western Europe and the US.  This change, which is seen in the new Indian films, is then further reflected of the change in Indian society, especially the younger generations.  And again, whether this change in culture is good or bad, that’s an argument in itself.  The problem I see arising, is Bollywood becoming very similar to Hollywood.

I think Bollywood is currently so successful because of it not being exactly like Hollywood films.  Indian films incorporate musical and dance numbers in almost every film, which is not common in American films.  In this way, Bollywood contains elements that are unique to it’s self, which makes it profitable.  Yet if Indian films loose those elements that are unique to their films, and tries to become more similar to Western films, then there will be a problem.  If Bollywood becomes a replica of Hollywood, they will be competing directly against each other. Yet since, Hollywood is authentic and has established its reputation, Bollywood would not make it.  These are just some of the views I have on India’s film industry becoming more Western.

India in the last century has been rapidly changing, and developing.  This change, for the most part is positive, and useful for the nation as a whole.  Yet some of this change involves letting go of the past.  Through globalization, India’s ancient rich culture and traditions have been threatened.  Although progressing, and evolving, as a nation is desirable, if it means loosing ones identity in return, then it might not be all that good.


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