FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Bollywood: A window to India's rising soft power
Posted:Apr 13, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Saket Suman
 
Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221
 
This offering by National Award-winning writer, filmmaker and scholar Roopa Swaminathan is the ultimate guide to the rising appeal of Bollywood globally and attempts to unravel the many reasons that have led to the changing perception of India on the international stage.
 
In "Bollywood Boom," the author opens a window to the spectacular success of Bollywood in the 21st century and its direct contribution to India's rising soft power and influence. Using extensive research, a compelling argument and fun anecdotes, she shows how Bollywood not only brings to the country real income through trade and tourism but also enhances its global standing.
 
A country -- long held as the land of snake charmers and poverty -- is finally claiming its rightful place in the international perception, Swaminathan argues in the book. What is more crucial is the fact that this change is not a result of the many campaigns carried out by Indian missions abroad but simply because of Bollywood's oeuvre becoming more modern and refreshingly different.
 
Vividly portrayed by numerous anecdotes and examples, Swaminathan succeeds in reminding the many prospective readers of this book that  Indian cinema is keeping pace with the times and since the beginning of the new millennium, it is "increasingly portraying India as a global power player".
 
How does it matter? For a world dominated by the western perception of India being poverty stricken and backward, the rising influence of Bollywood is in many ways the legitimate mode of transporting the Indian brand into the minds and eyes of cinema connoisseurs.
 
And why not if you look at the success of Bollywood both in India and at the international stage.
 
The world is feeling the impact of Bollywood like never before and its influence in shaping perceptions of India too has come a long way. From the Oscar-nominated "Lagaan" to "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" to "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil," Bollywood has come a long way since the watershed "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" and the UK Top Ten debut of "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai". Where earlier it was in Russia, East Europe and Africa that Raj Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan enjoyed a devoted fan base, today the entire world is as entertained by the three Khans as by the international stars Irrfan, Priyanka and Deepika, Swaminathan reminds her readers.
 
For most of international viewers, all Indian cinema is generally thought to be Bollywood but that is not true and the author emphasises on the linguistic diversity of Indian cinema as one of the core strengths.
 
For instance, Tamil movies have a built-up audience base in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji; Bengali movies are hugely popular within the neighbouring Bangladesh; and Punjabi films too have a huge audience across the border in Pakistan. This linguistic diversity of Bollywood, therefore, has a major influence in South Asia.
 
"Bollywood is no longer Hollywood's poor cousin. Bollywood is no longer just a convenient nomenclature devised by unimaginative folks. Bollywood cinema is one of the strongest global cultural ambassadors of a new India. And India is on its way to becoming a global soft power to reckon with," Swaminathan mentions in the book.
 
To cut a long story short, the author presents numerous case studies and anecdotes to highlight the emergence of Bollywood as India's rising soft power and the offering at hand   -- highly anecdotal, vivid and factually rich -- makes for a classic reading to understand the impact of Bollywood in the international stage.
 
(Saket Suman can be contacted at saket.s@ians.in)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
Afghanistan's leaders have asked the Security Council to mobilise international pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, United States Permanent Representative said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters here after the Council's weekend visit to Afghanistan and meetings with the nation's leaders, Haley said, &l
 
read-more
As the Myanmar government’s violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country’s sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599