Cultural imperialism, Bollywood style
A 1997 paper by Brian Larkin for Samar pointed at the reasons why Bollywood films were popular with the Hausas in Nigeria.
For over forty years, African audiences have been watching Indian movies. In places such as northern Nigeria, generations of Hausa youth have grown up besotted with Bollywood (“Bombay/Hollywood”) film culture. Over time, Indian movies have altered the style of Hausa fashions, their songs have been copied by Hausa singers and their stories have influenced the writings of Nigerian novelists. Favorite stars are given Hausa nicknames, like Sarkin Karfi (King of Strength) for Dharmendra, Dan Daba Mai Lasin (Hooligan With a License) for Sanjay Dutt, or Mace (Woman) for Rishi Kapoor. To this date, stickers of Indian films and stars decorate the taxis and buses of northern Nigeria, while posters of Indian films adorn the walls of tailor shops and mechanics’ garages
So far so good. Crank up contemporary Bollywood kitsch and noise and the tensions are visible:
For years, Indian movies have been an accepted, admired part of Hausa popular culture compared favorably with the negative effects of Western media. Indian movies offered an alternative style of fashion and romance that Hausa youth could follow without the ideological baggage of “becoming western”. But as the style of Bollywood has begun to change over the last few years this acceptance is becoming more questioned. Contemporary films are more sexually explicit and violent. Nigerian viewers comment on this when they compare older Indian films of the 1950s and 1960s that “had” culture to newer ones which are more Westernized. One friend complained about this saying that “when I was young, the Indian films we used to see were based on their tradition. But now Indian films are just like American films. They go to discos, make gangs, they’ll do anything in a hotel and they play rough in romantic scenes where before you could never see things like that.”
Read it here here.