A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the New Wave of Cinema in India since the world plunged into a global pandemic. Today, I’m going to write an autoethnography analysing my initial reflection on this topic.
I discussed the detrimental impact the Covid-19 pandemic, and its subsequent lockdowns, has had on the Indian film industry. Although streaming services are becoming much more common in India, there is a huge cultural significance to watching Bollywood films at the cinema, and that is something that simply cannot be replicated on a streaming service.
Two-thirds of the Indian population are not users of the internet yet (Athique and Baulch, 2019), which means that there are a large number of Indian people who would not be engaging with these films if they were released solely onto streaming services.
Athique and Baulch (2019) discuss Asia in the Age of Transactions and how the rise of digital platforms are making way for this new era of being able to capitalise from being solely online. This process has developed over decades, but we are in a transient time right now that is only exacerbated by the pandemic, where we are all faced with a leap into the online.
This happened so quickly, and there was no room to learn. Thrown in the deep end.
I believe that streaming services will continue to gain popularity in the wake of this pandemic, as more and more people in India adopt this unprecedented field of digitisation (Athique and Baulch, 2019).
Furthering on from that, when I reflect on streaming services globally, the inclusion of Bollywood films would give them a larger reach (Dastidar and Elliott, 2019). I mentioned in my first blog post that 85 per cent of Bollywood films fail at the box office, however, having them on streaming services across the world that have a larger population using that online service, could be something that impacts the Indian film industry moving forward.
Watching Bollywood films at the cinema is a largely social experience in India, and I don’t think that will ever go away. However, the digitisation of cinema will definitely be an increasing phenomenon in India, but in saying that it will also give more Bollywood films exposure globally.
Athique, A. and Baulch, E., 2019. Digital transactions in Asia. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Dastidar, S. and Elliott, C., 2019. The Indian film industry in a changing international market. Journal of Cultural Economics, 44(1), pp.97-116.
Lau, Y. and Mukherji, B., 2021. India COVID: Will Bollywood ever return to the big screen?. [online] Fortune. Available at: <https://fortune.com/2021/08/13/bollywood-india-covid-cinema-lockdown-film-industry-big-screen/>