Hollywood has always been the Mecca of creativity and inspiration for Bollywood and no wonder there has been a Hollywood Bollywood relationship that has built up in recent times. 100 years back it might have sounded like a fairy tale to the founders of Indian cinema but today it is a reality that Hollywood is finding Bollywood equally interesting.
Indian film-makers may not have become inspirational for their Hollywood counterparts but dynamics of Indian economy in the context of Bollywood have emerged as the ideal manifestation of Hollywood’s monetary aspirations. It is no more a one way business between the two industries. If Hollywood is a coveted creative destination for Indian film-makers and actors, Bollywood has now become a phenomenal market and a savior financial backup for Hollywood.
The limited potential of Hollywood movies in India has led major Hollywood studios into collaborating with Indian production houses. India being the second fastest growing economy, boasts of a film industry that is world’s largest maker of movies. It makes Indian production houses a highly profitable investment sector globally. The trend began with Columbia Tri Star Motion Pictures which co-produced Saanwariya with Sanjay Leela Bhansali films. Warner Bros took it forward by co-producing Chandini Chowk to China and buying the distribution rights of Saas Bahu aur Sensex. Later on Walt Disney inked a deal with Yash Raj films for Roadside Romeo. Although these movies bombed at the box-office, international production houses have not been deterred from investing in Bollywood projects. After Barfi!, a Disney venture recorded huge success at the box-office, the hopes of International production houses have been revived.
India has major benefits to harvest from this trend. Firstly, Hollywood’s investment in Bollywood has opened up a new financial back-up support for Indian production houses. Secondly, local production houses can now leverage the experience of these international studios to enhance their project planning and cost controls. Thirdly, Hollywood-Bollywood collaborations in marketing and distribution have the potential to widen India’s overseas reach. Some collaborations like outsourcing of sound-editing to India and sourcing production talent from the U.S. may not be very visible but they are enabling Hollywood to achieve topline as well as bottomline growth till it develops an understanding of the Indian audiences.
While Hollywood is a seasoned industry in all its capabilities, Bollywood continues to be marred by major issues like financial mismanagement, high taxation, a small global market and rampant piracy. But seemingly, Bollywood’s handicaps are seen as a window wide open for Hollywood to scale up local operations to its size.
As Hollywood movies find the formula of connecting to the Indian masses, the Indian audiences are relishing this expansion of their entertainment industry even if it comes in the form of these collaborations.
It seems Hollywood Bollywood act is going to stay for a long time.
Author: Prithu Gupta, Writer, Vishaka Communications