Tuesday, September 24, 2013

bollywood against hollywood

Indian media is full of reports about Bollywood’s increasing influence in the world movie industry and how it is catching up with the big boy Hollywood. Let us look at some facts.
Bollywood was born in 1899 with the production of a short film and Hollywood’s birth happened 11 years later in 1910 with a Biography melodrama.
Hollywood produces 500 films per year on average and has a worldwide audience of 2.6 billion whereas Bollywood produces more than 1000 (not consistently) films every year and has a worldwide audience of 3 Billion. In terms of vieweship, Bollywood overtook Hollywood in 2004 and has been leading ever since.
Hollywood’s Domination
Bollywood made a revenue of $1.75 Billion in 2006(estimated to rise to $3.4 Billion in 2010) which is only half the revenue of what one Hollywood studio, Walt Disney made in 2006 – and that is saying a lot. However, while Hollywood’s market inside the US has almost saturated, India’s 500 million population under the age of 20 will ensure that the market inside India will grow exponentially in the coming years.
Although Hollywood produces only a fraction of the number of films made all over the world, it garners a staggering 75% of total revenues. Also, 50% of its earnings(expected to grow to 80% in the next 20 years) come from the foreign market whereas for Bollywood it is 20%.
Hollywood has an overwhelming domination among the top grossers worldwide – almost all of the top 50 movies are made in Hollywood. It has virtually eclipsed all other film industries except Bollywood – for instance, the European film industry cut down to 1/10th of its size since 1910.
Spiralling Production Costs and Risks
The average cost of producing, marketing and distributing a Hollywood film is more than US$60 million though a Star Wars or Harry Potter costs around $100 million and only one out of ten succeeds. At the same time Shekhar Kapur’s ‘Paani’ which is tipped to be the costliest film ever to be made in Bollywood will cost $20 million and the average cost of a big movie is around $ 5 Million. 50% of the movies produced in Bollywood are never released and on an average more than 95% of those released results in losses.
Bollywoods NRI Connection
Around 15 million Indian expatriates living in different parts of the world account for over 65% ofBollywood’s earnings. An estimated $800 is spent by NRI’s in Indian movies and music. US (2 million Indian expats), UK(1.5 million) , South Africa(1 million of Africa’s 2 million Indian population) are major markets for Bollywood.
The Bottomline
Despite the hype surrounding Bollywood’s increasing influence in the world movie industry, it is a long way from being a threat to Hollywood’s influence.
Revenue-wise Hollywood movies does not depend on ticket sales alone. It follows the time-tested ‘franchise-formula’ where a major part of the revenue comes from other segments like TV networks, magazines, home-videos etc. Ofcourse, Bollywood is toying the same line but it is too early to say if a successful process is in place.
A few years ago, 70% of the money for movies made in Mumbai came as liquid cash from traders in real-estate, jewellery and the Mumbai underworld. Things have improved, but the financing of Bollywood movies is still shady business coming largely from the non-organised sector and with virtually no financing from the banking sector unlike Hollywood where production studios and the organised sector treat it as an industry and has a well established network. Bollywood was officially recognised as an ‘industry’ by the government only in 1998.
And if Bollywood basks in the glory of dubious ‘Shah Rukh Khan has more fans than Tom Cruise’ reports for too long, it may not be a happy ending afterall.

Call a spade a spade and give unto Ceaser what is rightfully Ceaser's. How simplistic it most be to judge the progress of an entire movie industry simply by the volume of its audience or its predilection for dance routines. Without a doubt, Bollywood is a strong contender for the top spot in the international movie business however, the race is far from being won as some patrons would like to believe. The primary reasons for the recent flourish in Bollywood movies are the reduced cost of production of the movies sold and an ever increasing population of young Asian movie lovers who are drawn to their roots. Since Bollywood movies are cheaper to make and cut per CD or DVD, it is more affordable for the Asian continent and subcontinents who find such movies interesting. In addition, the Asian community in Western Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America is gratly rising. At first glance, the fact that these lovers of Bollywood movies only watch these movies and no other kind of movies creates a false impression that Bollywood products have pervaded every cranny of the big and small screen.Same can be said of Nollywood in Nigeria.
However, this is the truth. Hollywood movies do not rely on movie watchers to make revenue. Ticket sales only form a certain percentage of their take home money. Since Western countries especially the United States contain the major companies that finance endorsement deals, much of the lucrative part of Hollywood movie business comes from the uncountable endorsement deals associated with the movies. Not only do the movies themselves engulf endorsement deals, the biggest actors and actress (all of which are Hollywood A listers)command a significant level of endorsements that are in many ways affiliated to the movies they make. Star wars movies and the merchandise from Toys, Games etc is a little example of how Hollywood grabs much of its revenue. Bollywood unfortunately is not situated in a vantage point to make the most of these lucrative deals. Infact, for a Bollywood movie or actor to reach that status wherein endorsement deals come calling, that movie or actor has to be recognised by players in the United States. Although, things are changing now as these actors are becoming recognised themselves but Americans have a way of only accepting stars from their country as the only real stars in the world. You only need to investigate how only few actors, musicians from abroad have managed to break into the American Entertainment scene successfully. Then again if they did, the truth of the matter is they had to come all the way to America to do that.
On the issue of Hollywood not recognising the importance of theatrical dance and singing in movies, the only answer is "been there done that". A huge percentage of the movies that came out from the mid thirties to the early eighties had theatrical singing and dancing in them (singing in the rain, Greece etc). Infact that was the only way some great names in the Hollywood Hall of fame got recognised as real screen performers. The focus of Hollywood movies has changed since then however some movies still carry that essence (high school musical etc).The reason for this change was the changing needs of the audience, the younger American audience know so much about movies, it is had to impress them. Only children's movies or animated movies now carry a lot of the previous theatrical singing and dancing-Hollywood movies have been more focused in creating reality amidst fiction perhaps to satisfy the audience who yearn for it.
Theatrical singing and dancing does not make a movie industry better. It may characterize it and perhaps form the greatest selling point of Bollywood movies however, I doubt if Bollywood movies can be bold enough to make such a drastic change in lieu of the direction their audiences were going. This is an important trait of any business, keeping the customer happy so as to stay in business. A typical example are the current chinese movies that have become more or less westernised. These cannot be compared to the ancient chinese movies or can they? Havent Bollywood movies started to contain kissing scenes when just a bout two decades ago, it wa a taboo?
On the issue of quality, Hollywood movies are by far of a higher quality. From the storyline developement, plots, movie shots, editing, special effects etc. It is impossible to watch a hollywood movie without getting some informal education on a subject. These is because the audience that watch Hollywood movies are smarter by the second. You make a movie and the facts are not clear, there is always a critic to slam your movie on its back. I doubt if detail is given to Bollywood movies to the point where there is a take home message. Apart from the beautiful actors with flawless looking skin and makeup and the constant interjections of melodious tunes, I dont think there is much to learn; and to their credit, I believe that is what qualifies what they represent.
Finally, where did the name Bollywood come from? sounds to me like a derivative of something I have heard before... thats right Hollywood.



History (a short one)
Numerous Bollywood historians trace the industry’s beginnings to the Lumiere Brother’s films screening at Bombay’s Watson Hotel in 1896. The screening inspired local filmmakers to use India as a base, and in 1913, India’s first homegrown movie, Raja Harishchandra was produced by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. He is widely seen as the father of Indian cinema. Score: 8
What’s in a name?
Bollywood is an amalgamation of Hollywood and Bombay (which is known today as Mumbai). The term is generally used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema, in spite of there being a number of centers for the Indian film industry throughout the nation. We like amalgamations. Score: 9
Bollywood produces approximately 1000 films per year, and caters to an audience of over 3 billion. The average cost of making a movie in India is around $5 million, although 50 percent of all movies in India are not released, and 95 percent of those that have been released are financial flops. So it’s a quantity, eh? Score: 2
Indian movies are financed a number of ways, although none of which have been confirmed by the industry. According to media reports, a significant number of films are financed by businessmen and the ‘underworld’. Other reports suggest that film directors fund the movies themselves. If the movies flop, so do the director’s careers (and their bank balances). We value transparency, so Bollywood’s shadiness doesn’t appeal to us. Score: 1
You won’t find a single, Oscars-type award ceremony for Bollywood movies. Instead, the Indian film industry has a number of well-regarded awards ceremonies, including the Filmfare Awards (organized by Filmfare magazine since 1954); Stardust Awards (organized by Stardust magazine since 2003); and the National Film Awards, which was introduced in 1954, and sponsored by the Indian government since 1973. More awards means more glitzy affairs, and which we love. Score: 8
Bollywood films are generally musicals, featuring elaborate dance scenes and catchy music. For many audiences, the better the musical scenes, the better the film’s entertainment value.
As for the plots, many Indian film plots center around melodramatic love stories and include angry parents, villains, jokers, families torn by circumstance, and so on. How about a change? Score: 2
Final score: 30

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