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Western Influence On Bollywood Industry Essay

2056 words - 9 pages

India as a nation has evolved tremendously over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Due to the effects of colonization, economic liberalization and globalization, India has been influenced by western principles of politics, society and commercialism. One of the major ways in which western influence has affected India is through its films. While Indian cinema encompasses a wide variety of film genres, this paper will be primarily focusing on Bollywood which may at times be referred to as Hindi films or masala films. In this paper I will be discussing how western influences are existent in film advertisement, film settings and brand placement in Hindi films and how these influence have all attributed to the westernization of Bollywood films. In order to understand how these three factors have attributed to the westernization of Bollywood films, I will provide historical background on India and Hindi films. Then I will provide information regarding what role each factor had on westernizing Hindi films.
To begin, India is a country in South Asia and was under British rule for a long period of time until its independence in 1947 (Shedde 25). After attaining independence, western culture got entrance into Indian culture in the form of cinema. Cinema’s origin in the West was shortly followed by its origins in India, with its first cinematography films shown in 1896 in the city that would become known as the center for the national film industry, Bombay (Dwyer and Patel 13, 19). Indian cinema was the result of the new public culture that arose from the nineteenth century; a hybrid that brought together traditional Indian images from indigenous performing traditions with industrial technology. India’s first films were of traditional Indian theater performances of Hindu mythological stories (Dwyer and Patel 13 ). It was during this time that traces of western culture crept into the film market through art in commercial features such as posters and pamphlets.
According to the article “Real and Imagined Audiences: Lagaan and the Hindi film after the 1990s,” there has always been this divide between the ‘art’ and the ‘commercial’ (mainstream) cinema whose boundaries have been blurry over the years (Dwyer 178). There were several moments throughout Hindi film history where western styles in art, particularly Art Deco, were used for Hindi film advertisement. These instances show how there have been western influences on the marketing artwork of Hindi film. In order to see how much of Hindi film art advertisement was western influenced we have to begin the discussion with the painter Ravi Varma. Ravi Varma is known as the artist who had the most impact on Indian visual culture and for his contribution to the birth of the nationalist movement (Dwyer and Patel 104). He was the first Indian artist to successfully use materials and techniques of Western academic art (chiaroscuro and perspective) and apply them to Indian...

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