Bollywood film industry, part of the cultural fabric of the film-mad nation of 1.4 billion people, is facing its biggest crisis ever. Because streaming services and non-Hindi competitors stole the spark.
The South Asian giant produces an average of 1,600 movies each year.(Indian film industry faces its biggest crisis) More than any other country, traditionally headlined by glamorous Bollywood, with fans worshiping movie stars like gods and crowds at premieres.
But now the movie theaters are silent. Even in the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai Box office revenues have declined since the coronavirus control measures were lifted.
“This is the worst crisis I’ve ever faced,” Mumbai theater owner Manoj Desai told AFP. ‘No people’
Celebrities like Akshay Kumar often have a back-to-back movie library of three A-lister Aamir Khan, the face of India’s most successful cinema. Can’t attract an audience with ‘Forest Gump’ remake ‘Lal Singh Chattha’.
Of the more than 50 Bollywood movies released in the past year, Elara Capital media analyst Karan Taurani said. which is less common due to the pandemic Only one in five meets or exceeds revenue goals. Before the epidemic 50 percent.
on the contrary Many Telugu movies, also known as Tollywood, which rivals South India and Bollywood Hindi, have risen to the top.
Infamously, about half of the box office revenues for Hindi films from January 2021 to August this year are touted as southern films, said Somya Ganti Ghosh, chief economic adviser to the Bank of India. in the latest report.
“Bollywood, after decades of storytelling… It appears to be at a tipping point unlike any other disruption I have faced before,” Ghosh wrote.
– ‘Out of Contact’ –
Bollywood is like any other film industry. affected by the increase in streaming which started before the pandemic But it started when millions of Indians were forced into their homes.
About half of the Indian population has access to the Internet and streaming services. Including international players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar has 96 million subscriptions, according to government estimates.
Some of the movies released during the Covid shutdown go straight to these platforms. While some titles hit the small screen just weeks after they were released in theaters.
Analysts say that with monthly streaming subscriptions, it’s lower than or equivalent to the price of a single ticket – Rs 100-200 ($1.20 – $2.5) at single-screen theaters and higher at multiplexes. – Price-sensitive audiences avoid movie theaters.
Times were so difficult that INOX and PVR, India’s largest multiplex system operator, announced a merger in March to ‘build scale’.
meanwhile Subscribers are exposed to local and global streaming content. Including southern Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada films, which already have a large number of local fans.
“The cinema in the region doesn’t go beyond its boundaries, but suddenly everyone is watching Malayalam movies or Maharashtra cinemas. Then you know… There are filmmakers who tell a more interesting story,” said film critic Raja Sen.
“Then they saw a star-studded Hindu blockbuster that was like rereading a story they had heard a million times. They are no longer impressed.”
Critics have also accused Bollywood of making niche films or not-so-famous elites in a country where 70% of the population lives outside the city.
Aamir Khan admitted during a media interview for ‘Lal Singh Chattha’ Hindu filmmakers’ selection of what is relevant to them may not be very relevant to a large audience.”
Meanwhile, the Tollywood mega-smash hits. ‘Pushpa: Rebirth’ and ‘RRR’ Underscore the bravery of the masses while nurturing the audience with larger-than-life spectacles with catchy singing and dancing routines.
The formula has long been a mainstay of Bollywood. But film critics say the Southern challengers are doing bigger and better.