Does the West Look Down Upon Bollywood Films?

why foreigners don't like watching bollywood films
Indian films may continue to do well in International markets, but isn’t it only the Indian/Asian diaspora that watches these films?

Are Indian Movies Liked All Over the world?

Going by the popularity of Bollywood films in most foreign countries, and the number of foreign actors who are coming to India, it may seem as if Bollywood films are a craze all over the world.

More than a billion people live in India, but there’s also a significant number of Indians living abroad. So, when a Bollywood movie is an international hit, its because of the people of Indian origin living in foreign countries (also includes Pakistanis & Bangladeshis).

However the fact remains that the song-and-dance, family bonding, & emotional scenes appeal only to certain section of the audience (especially women), and also in certain countries where there seems to be some degree of cultural similarity (Latin America, Africa, Russia, and even some Asian countries).

Does The West Look Down Upon the Indian Film Industry?

Indian-Australian actress ‘Pallavi Sharda’, who made her Bollywood debut with “Besharam” (opposite Ranbir kapoor), doesn’t think so. In fact she says that Bollywood is considered cool in the west, and is extremely happy to be part of Bollywood and being called a Hindi film actress.

So why is it that most foreigners (mostly Americans & Europeans) don’t find Bollywood films appealing?

Some of it does relate to the craft (film-making) and how to make a cliched topic more interesting for the audience. Sylvester Stallone has done a cameo in Sajid Nadiadwala’s ‘Kambakkht Ishq’, but then most of Mr. Stallone’s movies were not about “Substance” either.

I mean, Mr. Stallone, is best known for his shoot-’em-up roles like Rambo and Rocky, which had predictable plots, but it was the film-making (along with its famous background music track) that made the Rocky series so popular and is a treat to watch even today. Isn’t it?

Why Most Foreigners Don’t Watch Bollywood Films

Here are some more reasons why most foreigners (including Indians/Asians settled abroad) don’t enjoy watching Bollywood films.

  • Many find Indian movies to be cliched & less crafted, with more ore less no story-line, and with unrealistic endings
  • Most mainstream movies are lazy, overdone melodramatic musicals, and will drag a small concept/plot for three hours
  • Many don’t like the fact that movies run for around/over three hours (even those who live in India, especially in the big cities, feel the same), with most movies having little or no substance.
  • Glamorized depiction of India in the movies – So if a foreigner has already toured India, he/she might feel that the India that is shown in the movies is quite not like what they had seen.
  • Overrated Actors & Actresses? Most actors (newcomers) can’t act & learn acting after entering the industry. One of the reasons for that is that most ‘models’ (beauty pageants) end up in Bollywood films (unlike in the west…Naomi Campbell was always a model) who then struggle with their acting part. But then most Bollywood films require the actors (at least the leading ladies) to look beautiful, even if their acting skill is just about okay.
  • Most Indian drama films will depict multiple emotions, all in one film (typically known as a “masala film”), which may not appeal to a global audience.
  • Some just find the movies to be too emotional, some don’t like the fact that a song can come up at any point in the movie (bunch of Indians playing baseball against the British…and then suddenly a song emerges), and some don’t understand why the heroes don’t kiss their girlfriends (maybe this part is a bit cultural).

Is this True of All Bollywood Films?

Not really! A lot of experimental films are also getting made in India, several films now have realistic (as well as gripping) plots; there are movies made without songs as well.

A Farhan or Joya Akhtar directed film is likely to be much more sleeker, shot at several foreign locations, and is more likely to appeal to a global audience.

Though such movies continue to be lesser in number, Bollywood does produce a range of exciting movies now!

However, when it comes to movies, everyone in the world likes to watch two kinds of movies, locally-produced movies and American/Hollywood movies (Americans being the exceptions here, as its one and the same for them). So there will always be some locally produced movies that may not appeal to a wider audience, but will be savored by the locals.

So what do YOU think about this one? Are Bollywood films dull & boring (percentage wise)? So if Bollywood is one of the leading producers of movies, does it churn out a lot of mediocre stuff? Please let us know your comments here.