Bollywood in Cabo…

Earlier this week, in a post I postulated that, “in 10 years, it (Bollywood) will be the 2nd largest entertainment hub exporting movies, music, and fashion to the rest of the world”.

Based on today’s experience, it may already be happening. As we (Pooja and I)  were walking along the Marina in Cabo San Lucas at 11 AM, we heard the tune of Churake Dil Mera. We turned around and it was playing in Puerto Paraiso, Cabo’s best mall. We were the only Indian’s around, and it wasn’t for our benefit. Apparently, the Mexicans listen to hindi music!

When I got back to the hotel, I did some research, and international sales already account for 15-25 % of Bollywood ticket sales. And movies are exported to over 100 countries. However, the current market is largely NRIs (Non Resident Indians). What my Cabo experience indicates is that Bollywood may be developing a broader appeal.

Nirpal Dhaliwal of the Guardian UK argues that cultural differences make it impossible for Indian movies to appeal to a Western audience. Even if that is the case, there are large markets in South America, Africa and Asia where there are tremendous cultural similarities. In fact, the one thing that struck me through our trip to Cabo is how similar Mexico is to India, just cleaner. Hindi movies with Spanish sub-titles/dubbing could be a huge hit across Latin America.

What do you think ?

About Ashu

General Partner with Foundation Capital. Areas of interest range from digital media, mobile and internet infrastructure to all things related to India. Currently on the board of TreeHouse, Aspire, Conviva, Agni and TubeMogul.
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4 Responses to Bollywood in Cabo…

  1. The other day flipping through the channels, I saw an ad for a TV serial called “India”. Its a Brazilian TV show about Indian families based totally on the present Indian soap operas….none of the actors are Indians though. Very strange, but in line with your views.
    Check out a report about this show:

  2. Movies are, for the most part, set in a social, cultural milieu. You connect to it, if you grew up with it, or are at least somewhat familiar with it (as some of us are with Western, English-speaking settings). There aren’t enough people who regularly watch foreign films in a theater to make a business out of it.

    Bollywood films are foreign films for Western audiences, heck, all non-Indian audiences. But Afghanistan has no local movie industry and so Bollywood is the next best thing. My Afghan cab driver in Fremont, CA knows Hindi which he picked up from watching Bollywood movies in Kabul.

    The movie industry is kinda like the venture industry. There are so many different things that need to fall in place for a thriving industry to be built that it can’t be successfully replicated just anywhere in the world. Hollywood has it and India has it. Hollywood might rule the silver screens in most of the developed nation, but the rest of the developing world especially Africa, South Asia, Middle East and maybe Latin American – could be Bollywood.

  3. Amrut says:

    On that note there is this Spanish (Latin American) show called India that is modeled after our soaps, quite hilarious if you havn’t checked it out already.
    There definitely seems to be an intrigue about our culture in that part of the world.

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