The worldwide entertainment industry is feeling the impact of Bollywood as revenues from these films surpasses the billions of dollars.
The Impact of Bollywood Grows Stronger
In its beginnings, the Indian movie industry had a sordid history. Before 2000, The Indian government didn't recognize film as an industry and banned all banks and lending institutions from providing loans to all Indian filmmakers. As a result, the film companies had to find private financial backing on their own.
At first, the wealthy merchants and businesses backed the films, then, organized crime got into the business of making films. After the Indian government lifted the ban in 2000 and officially declared the making of films an industry, many banks and lending institutions were slow to financially back the films due to the its criminal ties in the past.
In the mid 2000's this negative tide slowly began to turn for the positive, and the industry began to produce higher quality movies, gaining in popularity in eastern countries but not making much headway in the west. It wouldn't be long before the impact of Bollywood would be felt in the west with the release of flashy, cinematically eye-catching films that would soon define an industry.
Industry Growth in Bollywood
Once legitimate financial backing became an option for Bollywood filmmakers, the quality of production increased to a point where they became more in line with the films western moviegoers were used to seeing. By 2001, the industry far surpassed the U.S. film industry by films and by revenue. Here is a closer look at the numbers according to businessweek.com:
United States Films
- 739 films produced
- 2.6 billion tickets sold
- $51 billion in total revenue worldwide
- 1,013 films produced
- 3.6 billion tickets sold
- $1.3 billion in total revenue worldwide
Keep in mind that according to Business Week the average production cost for a U.S. film is around $50 million, while the Bollywood production costs average around $1.5 million. Those numbers affect the revenue, but it certainly doesn't mean that Bollywood films have any less impact. After all, Bollywood films sold one billion more tickets to their films than U.S. films.
The Future of Bollywood Films
With its shady past behind it and avenues to legitimate financing now available, the Indian film industry continues to draw attention to itself in a positive manner, which only fuels its impact and growth in the worldwide film industry.
As a matter of fact, director M. Night Shyamylan, better known for his spooky Hollywood films such as Signs, The Sixth Sense, 'Lady in the Water and Unbreakable, secured half of his big budget film The Happening via Bollywood production company UTV based in Mumbai, India.
When asked why he decided to step outside of Hollywood and into his native India (born in Mahe, Pondicherrry, India and raised in Pennsylvania), the quiet writer/director responded with "so I can have ownership rights over the movie, rather than just selling it to the studio." So, what does this all mean for Bollywood? More exposure of course. Everyone knows that in the entertainment industry, exposure is king.
Bollywood still has its controversies, but not with its funding. It seems that more than a few Bollywood films are very closely based on U.S. films to the point that many U.S. screenwriters have accused filmmakers of plagiarism. Seeing as how cash strapped the industry was in the past, maybe they just didn't have the budget to hire writers. Regardless, the industry continues to grow at an extremely fast pace.
As the Indian film industry continues to churn out increasingly higher quality, bigger budget films, Bollywood continues to gain exposure worldwide. With the help of well known directors like M. Night Shyamylan bringing even more publicity to Bollywood, its impact in the entertainment industry will only continue to be felt.