How Bollywood Filmdom Operates in India and in the International Arena: Consumption of Bollywood

How Bollywood Filmdom Operates in India and in the International Arena: Consumption of Bollywood

Nandini Sen (Heriot Watt University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3115-0.ch011

Abstract

The chapter discusses the influence and impact of product placement of Bollywood cinema. It examines the different strategies adopted in Bollywood movies for promotional purposes in India and internationally. It does an evaluation of the effectiveness of this type of communications, including deciding about travel destinations and concentrates on the viewer's recall on the consumption of the product and its impact on improving brand image. The chapter is also to understand the consumer buying behaviour in terms of Bollywood. It assesses the product placement of Bollywood in India based on its popularity and the diversity in the types of placements and was analysed using ethnography as a method tool. From the study it was observed that the importance of Bollywood movies on masses is evident in India and internationally. Consumers feel that the advertisements should be entertaining and the same should be conjoined with the storyline in order to convey the brand message in the best possible way. The chapter tries to locate the solutions and recommendations of the Bollywood film crisis.
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Background

To begin, it is necessary to comment on my use of the term Bollywood. I use it, as has now to the Hindi-language commercial cinema of India based primarily in Mumbai (previously

Bombay). Despite common misconceptions it constitutes only one industry and/or cinemas. These include several regional commercial cinemas as well as the art cinema of India known as Parallel Cinema or New (Wave) Indian cinema. Of India’s many cinematic traditions, however, it is Bollywood that has attained a global reach and a considerable measure of international commercial success characterized the term Bollywood as derogatory, arguing that it maintains Hollywood as its standard of reference and that, by implication, it positions Indian cinema as a stepchild of Hollywood. Commonly believed to have emerged only in about the past decade, originating as a term used in some English language Indian trade journals in a slightly jokey, self-deprecating way, Rajadhyaksha (2003) describes the term Bollywood as having become an expression of the outsider’s fascination with a slightly surreal practice that nevertheless appears to possess the claim to be a genuinely popular art form (2003:29). It is arguable whether the (even if one accepts that it was ever primarily that), and whether any Bollywood fan would art form. Regardless of such debates, the term Bollywood has achieved widespread currency industrial practice and a distinctive aesthetic. The term Bollywood connotes a characteristic set of stylistic conventions, the prominence of song-and-dance sequences, recognizable themes and genre categories, Indian cultural values, and an overall entertainment ethos.

The term also encompasses a manifestation of the star system that includes primarily actors but also producers, directors, playback singers, lyricists, musical composers/directors and choreographers. Moreover, both audiences and producers appear to be able to reconcile Bollywood’s ideological investment in a conservative Hindu nationalism — which often positions itself narratively in opposition to Western values and to Muslims — with its paradoxical but ubiquitous appropriation of Western locations and modes of dress and dance. Additionally, Bollywood also happily counts a half dozen Khans among its major male stars, including Shahrukh Khan, the darling of diasporic audiences, and Aamir Khan of Lagaan fame.

Rajadhyaksha (2003:27) convincingly asserts arguing that: Bollywood admittedly occupies a space analogous to the film industry, but might best be seen as a more diffuse cultural conglomeration involving a range of distribution and consumption activities from websites to music cassettes, from cable to radio. If so, the film industry itself — determined here solely in terms of its box office turnover and sales of print and music rights, all that actually comes back to the producer — can by definition constitute only a part, and perhaps even an alarmingly small part, of the overall culture industry that is currently being created and marketed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Bollywood Films: A large body of commercial films produced after Indian independence. They are made in Hindi and other languages like Urdu. Bollywood films are highly popular in Indian subcontinent, Asia, Russia, Middle East. It is also popular among Indian diasporas in South Africa, the Caribbean, the US, and Europe. These films are mainly produced from a city called Bombay and hence the name is Bollywood films. These films typically incorporate a mixture of genres, with music, melodrama, romance, action, mythologies and social dramas.

Bollywood Travel Destination: The popular Bollywood films plays a major role in audience’s mind by influencing them to choose a travel destination which has been used in the specific film. Film shooting spots in Bollywood films create imaginative and luxurious travel frames and destinations in audience’s mind. The link between travel destination/tourism and Bollywood films has been long recognized and nowadays it has been strengthened and globalized as essential elements and effects of Bollywood films.

Bollywood Industry/Market: A place where Bollywood cinemas are sold. The amount of money a film takes during theatrical release. The market figures often used in the popular and trade press. It is used as indicators of film’s profitability/ success. Each of these films will have its own specific deal.

Bollywood Film Audience: A specific group of people who are interested to watch Bollywood films in public cinemas and other venues. They also consume films via alternative platforms such as videos, DVDs, home cinemas and television channels. From its beginning Bollywood consumers are mainly influenced by their choice of films in the context of their catharsis, moral fabric, anxieties, happiness and sadness.

Bollywood Product Placement: It is a cost-effective means of gaining global media. It is a unique way to familiarise consumer with brand and product and connect to audience with added benefit of association with the popular Bollywood films. It is important because it gives clues that why should we not ignore other revenue streams of the Bollywood films. Theatrical release of a film only generates a minor proportion of the revenue collection, with the major percent coming from ancillary markets such as DVDs, musical CDs and nowadays how film-corporate markets like Netflix, Amazon Prime absorb them including broadcasting through major TV channels and other licenses like computer games, merchandise, theme parks, etc.

Bollywood Consumption: A measurement for calculating profit share in India and abroad. It can also be reflected from the density of distribution of the film often handled by different distributors depending on territory, with each negotiating a different deal with the producer. It also depends on the big named actors or stars, the name of the producers, etc.

Bollywood Advertisement: An agency for sponsoring and branding a film in the market. It encourages people and producers and distributors to buy the tickets or the film copies. It also draws attention of the market to the specific film for the consumption by packaging the product inside its ideas and services of developing fashion industries depending on the fashion and style used in the film.

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