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Foxy times for Bollywood

Guardian reports the launch of Fox Star Studios, a Fox Studios venture into Indian cinema (read here). I had predicted changes in structures of ownership (read here), written about the formal subsumption of capital (read here). Majors such as Sony Pictures had already shown the way to do it in Bollywood (read here).

So, contrary to the assertions by producers and critics that Indian cinema is the bastion that will never be conquered by Hollywood, I would like to argue in the contrary, not wishing its downfall but interested in generating a debate on the key issues that might face the industry as it undergoes a process of rationalisation for late capital conditions.

The conditions exarbating the situation are very simple. Indian producers (largely independents) have trouble raising financing and a segmentation of the audience due to structural changes in the last mile (DVD, satellite/cable TV, multiplexes) is making the previous model of film financing and distribution quite cumborsome.  Only Indian companies with deep pockets such as Adlabs (Anil Ambani) can fuel, sustain, and exploit the growth of the entertainment industry by their diverse portfolio and cross utilisation of content over various platforms.

The question, as always, is will this mean a change in Hindi film content? The answer to that is, probably no. But a relentless segmentation of the audience will mean more spaces for alternative narrative styles. Spaces will open up for documentaries and genre films. Of course, content will be tempered by the Indian censorship regime.


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