Bollywood: Challenging Hollywood or Admiring It?

 In the Article Bollywood versus Hollywood, Heather Tyrrell looks into the North Indian popular commercial cinema, Bollywood. Many commentators believed that once economic barriers collapsed, and Western movies became more available to India, there wouldn’t be much of a need for Bollywood, which seemed to serve as a substitute for Hollywood. Although, this was not the case because the existence of Bollywood persisted just as strong after the collapse of economic barriers. In this article, the question of whether or not Bollywood fits into the category, “Third Cinema”, arises. This poses an issue on the side that does categorize Bollywood as “Third Cinema”. Tyrrell presents Jim Pines and Paul Willemen’s description of Third World Films as “physical acts of collective self-defense and resistance” (373 Bollywood versus Hollywood).

                When I consider both sides of the argument over how to classify Bollywood, I can’t help but to think that the whole dispute is being blown way out of proportion. First of all, I do not personally consider Bollywood a “Third Cinema”, because as Tyrrell mentions, Third Cinema is usually rather serious, whereas films of Bollywood tend to have a light-hearted vibe. I understand that the US can’t help but to be concerned about the idea of Bollywood films portraying a resistance against the US culture. I understand that Americans have ethnocentric beliefs and when they look at India’s Bollywood, some can’t help but to see Bollywood as a threat or challenge to Hollywood. I personally believe that we as Americans should work on doing a better job of minding our own business, and not always assuming the worst. Why can’t we just see Bollywood as a form of admiration towards Hollywood? Giddens views come into play here. “Trust in systems takes the form of faceless commitments, in which faith is sustained in the workings of knowledge of which the lay person is largely ignorant”(Giddens 88). I think that there is a good chance that when India realized that they too would like to have a prosperous film industry, they couldn’t help but to trust Hollywood’s ideas and knowledgeable workings  because whatever America was doing in the Hollywood industry, it was working. How many times do we do the exact same thing in day-to-day life? We see something we want, we observe another person’s method that works, and we then use their ideas as a foundation for our own projects.

2 thoughts on “Bollywood: Challenging Hollywood or Admiring It?

  1. I agree too that the Bollywood controversy is being blown way out of proportion. To me this is another example of the press trying to get involved in someone else’s culture and start a huge debate that isn’t needed. You brought up a very valid point that Bollywood should not be considered a third cinema due to the fact that their movies are lighter hearted. Tyrrell also notes that a “cinema does not automatically qualify for the title because it is produced in and for the third world.” Instead it is based on its success and how well it does in the film industry.

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  2. I also agree that this debate is becoming a much bigger deal than it needs to be. When you said “I understand that Americans have ethnocentric beliefs and when they look at India’s Bollywood, some can’t help but to see Bollywood as a threat or challenge to Hollywood. I personally believe that we as Americans should work on doing a better job of minding our own business, and not always assuming the worst. ” that statement really stuck out to me because it is completely true. This is just another example of Americans not bothering to fully understand and analyze something before they decide that they can share their “expert” opinion on it. Bollywood isn’t all as bad as people think it is if you just look at it in another way, from an optimistic point of view. Perhaps Bollywood should be looked at as a light hearted praise towards Hollywood and the American movie industry. Americans need to learn to truly analyze every aspect of something before coming to a conclusion on it, but getting everyone to do that seems to be near impossible. How can we get more of the American population to truly learn about something before they judge it?

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