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Finland joins the “welcome Bollywood” bandwagon

Apparently not to be outdone by Israel, Finland has upped the stakes in welcoming “Bollywood” to shoot in its country (Pay no money, make great films: Finland to Bollywood, Hindu, March 12). Only furthering the argument put forward earlier here.

2 comments

1 utpal borpujari { 03.13.07 at 4:00 am }

Kishore – with reference to your both posts on Israel and Finland “welcoming” Bollywood with open arms, it is pure business they are inviting – in the form of shooting crews and the increase in Indian tourists that happens after the release of a film (particularly if the film is a hit). Switzerland has done it earlier, Brazil has realised it recently after Dhoom-2, New Zealand reaped the tourism benefits after “Kaho Na Pyar Hai”… the examples are increasing every day. In Japan, the frontier has been opened by Rajanikanth whose Tamil fantasies are wildely popular among the Japanese post Muthu.

I think this has, however, also led to an expansion of the audiences of typical masala Bollywood films, beyond the NRI-Pakistani core base abroad. In recent times, French and Germans have taken to the melodrama and colourful presentations of Bollywood cinema.

One important (and negative) point here is that Indian cinema as a whole is being identified abroad as “Bollywood”. While even within Bollywood there is a significantly-held opinion (for eg, Amitabh Bachchan) that we should use the term “Indian film industry” and not Bollywood as it sounds derogatory and a poor cousin of Hollywood, the term anyway does not encompass all of Indian cinemas, which just like the country’s multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-community culture, is hugely diverse in themes, treatment and concerns (notwithstanding the poor copies of Bollywood style masala movies in every regional language). But quite evidently, for Westerners, the term “Bollywood” is catchy – and a representation of the kitschy. For them – largely – all other cinemas of India fall in the category of “art”, “parallel” or “independent”, which is not true, though it is true that there is no proper studio system in the regions.

2 Kishore Budha { 03.15.07 at 2:10 am }

That is the whole point of the Subaltern collective. To get people to realise that there is cinema outside of the hegemony of popular Hindi cinema. In your own posts you have highlighted production and consumption nodes that are at the “periphary” of this “centre” (emphasis mine). Nirmal has highlighted Bhojpuri cinema.

I am sure if we get more like-minded writers with specialised knowledge of various aspects of cinema to blog here, we could present to our readers the rich tapestry of cinema in India.

I would like to add to your position that it is pure business sense — I don’t have a quarrel with that. The issue here is the consequences of such random representations of geography especially when they have no “real” role to play in the diegesis. It is just a backdrop.

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