Hindi films may have made $78 million in the United States in the last 6 months of 2006, but as everyone knows – it’s the NRI’s who are watching the films…not the locals. The reasons why they reject Hindi films are the same as why we watch them. Well, I guess I can’t speak for everybody but I can speak for myself. I watch Hindi films because:

1. I like certain stars (won’t name them here as they are too many of them!) and enjoy watching them on the screen. If I hear that a movie is average but it has my favourite star, I’ll go for it.
2. They are musicals and I enjoy the lyrics
3. Hindi movies can make me cry
4. They endorse family values (too conservative for westerners to digest)
5. They are about brown people

These are very reasons are why westerners cannot relate to Bollywood films. But if some of us can relate to Hollywood films, why can’t they relate to Bollywood?

Let’s see why we like Hollywood films. Again, I will speak just for myself. I like Hollywood films because:

1. They are technologically superior which makes for a slicker product
2. A large number of them have universal and more ‘realistic’ themes
3. Acting even by B-grade actors is generally good

So this means if Bollywood starts making movies which are technologically superior (which will need lots of money), cut out the song and dance, make movies with universal and realistic themes (Satya) instead of a family oriented tear-jerkers (KANK) then they will break into the Hollywood market?

Maybe.

But wait…this doesn’t mean the so-called ‘crossover’ films like ‘Black’ or even the English language ‘Bride and Prejeduce’. These films were far too ‘Bollywood’ to be enjoyed by the western audience. Hindi film directors’ efforts to cater to cater to both markets haven’t worked. The only way that Bollywood films can gain a toehold in Hollywood is if they make a completely separate product for that market by a director who understands the western mindset. But then such a film will bomb in India. So what’s the use anyway?

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