The Indian film industry – Bollywood has accomplished a lot in the past century. From screenings in the director’s backyard in the early 90s to becoming a multi-billion dollar industry that it is today. With audiences all around the globe, Bollywood has an enormous influence over people all around the globe.
But that influence is not so much in “in your face” as it is subtle. If you go out on to the streets, you probably won’t find a Bollywood-themed restaurant right away or a theatre showing a Hindi film. However, if you know where to look, you’ll be greeted to a world full of exotic colors, tastes, smells and sounds. This exoticism is part of the charm that attracts so many Americans to the Bollywood culture.
Take the new “dance fitness” craze for example or as some are calling it “desi zumba”. It’s a new form of exercise where trainers are blending the fast and fun movements with equally fast and cheerful music. This new take on dance and exercise has been incorporating everything from belly dancing to classical Indian dance. It’s enjoyable and makes burning away calories fun, making it very popular.
The influence of Bollywood continues further in less traditional industries as well. Take the movie and gaming industry of the West for instance. It’s no surprise to see new big budget movies shot in India or TV shows and games adding Indian characters to their storyline. Yes, it may be add diversity but I think it adds flavor and the touch of exoticism to everything. Even the music industry hasn’t been able to keep away from the allure of the Hindi language. Both mainstream and indie artists alike are creating music with Hindi lyrics and beats and why shouldn’t they? It sounds good and is relaxing. The Beatles did it in the late 60s and now we have newer artists like Selena Gomez following in the footsteps. But why?
Why does Bollywood hold this influence over the Western society? The answer many agree to, including myself is emotion and feelings. Yes, American culture has emotions and it has feelings but lately, majority of the industry has been focused more on technology and action and less on what it feels like to be human.
Not a lot of Bollywood movies are shown on American television and that’s why not a lot people get to experience the Indian cinema but that’s slowly changing. The hospitality, warmth, love and passion that Bollywood brings is slowly and subtly becoming a beautiful and colorful part of the American society and I think that’s a great thing!