The word Bollywood originates from a play on Hollywood, with the B coming from Bombay (now Mumbai), the centre of the Hindi film industry. The word was coined in the 1970s by a magazine gossip columnist. Bollywood is known as the bastard genre by several academics and film critics. Most of the popular Hindi films during the ’70s and ’80s dealt with issues of poverty, inequality and suffering. One could even say there was a huge reflection of the socio-political economy of Indira Gandhi on commercial films as well.
Successful Indian films during this period include Sholay, Deewar and Amar Akbar Anthony, amongst others. All of them share some common characteristics, at least in terms of the plotline and narrative arc. Wealth was seen as a problematic trait that was associated with corruption and exploitation. The narrative arc for most films during the 1970s and 1980s included an actor being born in a poor family or with troubled past; he falls in love or finds a partner, fights against the system, and eventually the good wins over the bad.
By the 1990s, the narrative arc of Bollywood shifted to an actor being born in a reasonably well-to-do family, who goes abroad or to some place of self-discovery, and rediscovers his sanskaar. It was the perfect blend of Indianness and Westernisation.
Major over-the-top (OTT) players in India and ownership includes:
The demand for high-quality content is increasing every day, as a common person is able to access OTT platforms from their homes. OTTs will find newer ways to make advertising profitable as movie watching will become more common and cheaper for everyone with a subscription. Several production houses have a collection of their content available for platforms including YouTube, but soon, they will reach out to other rising OTT platforms of their preference, including Hotstar, Sony Liv, Hoi Choi, Eros Now and Sun NXT.
Theatres will soon become an exclusive, luxurious experience. Multiplex owners such as Inox and Big Cinemas may need to rethink their pricing strategies associated with the cinema-viewing experience. Digital rights of a film are getting fiercer day by day, and might churn out more revenue for the production houses.
More diversified and personalised content maybe the new ‘normal’. The theatrical experience will remain complementary to the already-existing experience. The idea of stardom in Bollywood might get redefined with the disappearance of the silver screen. Piracy of content might become a thing of past. Integrated bundles such as the one being envisaged by Jio telecommunications might prove to be an industry changer.