Indian Cinema versus Western Cinema

By Aditya Sarda:

Cinema and television are the mirrors of the soul of a society. From a humble beginning, the cinema has now become an alternate universe in itself. The rush of the people thronging at the cinema halls and multiplexes every Friday and weekend is a clear evidence for the same.

“Indian cinema has virtually become a parallel culture. Talk of India with a foreigner and debate virtually centres around Indian films.” - Amitabh Bachchan

Cinema in India is a passion. There is no other country in the world where popular cinema thrives to such an extent as in India. Almost every second lamp post or wall carries a poster of some upcoming movie and they come a lot. In the year 2009, a total of 2961 movies were produced in India against 1148 in Hollywood.

There is a perpetual debate on Indian cinema versus Western cinema. The differences are stark and the facts are clear.

While western cinema titillates the adventurous human spirit, Indian movies are more on the emotional side of human nature. Indian cinema is known for its musicals and melodramas. Songs constitute an indispensible part of any Indian movie contributing to almost 20% of the narrative. In addition to the ticket sales, songs are another major source of revenue for Indian movies, while Hollywood cashes its popularity through video games, magazines, merchandise and many other sources.

Scale is another point of difference. Western movies are generally made on a grand scale with a high focus on quality and minute details. Though Indian movies are gradually adopting the global quality standards of movie making but still a lot is desired.

The difference in scale is clearly represented in the huge gap in the earnings. The entire revenue of $1.75 billion made by Bollywood in 2006 was just half of the earnings of one major Hollywood studio, Walt Disney.

Indian movies have been criticized in the past for their touchy mushy presentation and slack screenplay. But the current crop of directors is making sure that the general perception of the world about the Indian cinema gets changed. From 3 hours drama, Indian movies have now shortened and tightened their scripts to hold the imagination of the viewers suffering with a short concentration span.

Around 15 million Indian expatriates living in different parts of the world are working as the ambassadors of the Indian culture. Along with the food and language, Indian cinema has also gained global acceptance. In terms of viewership, Bollywood overtook Hollywood in 2004 and has been leading ever since. Our films and actors are now more visible on global arena than ever.

In spite of all these differences, the two cinemas are very similar as the ultimate motto behind both of them is to entertain their audiences.

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One Response

  1. GrowUpCatalyst

    Bollywood is a pile of asinine junk.

    Quantity doesn’t substitute for quality. Western films value quality and production values.

    “But the current crop of directors is making sure that the general perception of the world about the Indian cinema gets changed.”

    There is NO great director in India right now. The good ones struggle to reach what is considered mediocre abroad. I have seen the works of Anurag Kashyap, Sanjay ‘Plagiarist’ Bhansali, Imtiaz Ali and several other directors.

    The biggest problem with the cinema in India is it influences our ways of life. True cinema should depict real-life, not define it. India is a lot more than a culture derived from its movies. Cinema should represent a true picture of the country and our heritage. We can always have sensible entertainment, which doesn’t insult our intelligence.

    Bollywood songs are hideous. Autotune plagues most of our songs today, including the overrated AR Rehman’s music. Here fake music is received well. Abroad, it is denounced. Indian songwriters can only write about love. The English pop songwriters can write about anything that influences them. Heroin addictions, political frustrations, environmental issues… every life experience is molded into a song.

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