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WESTERN INFLUENCE IN BOLLYWOOD

Submitted to: Miss. Amy Lam Date: 08 January 2009

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INTRODUCTION

While watching Hindi movies, we felt like most of the Hindi movies were featuring criteria that we personally consider western. To clarify our idea about western culture and to see the degree of influence it has, on Bollywood movies we thought it is necessary to make a research, which might make a change our vision. Culture is the cornerstone of a civilized society.1 When a group of people comprise a society with their indigenous behavior and customs like dress, music, beliefs, language and rituals then the combination of their activity is called culture. Among myriads of culture, some of the cultures have enormous power to induce the others because of its acceptance to the people. For instance, influence of western culture on the eastern culture, which can easily be seen in films.2 To label western culture it can be said that “it is a term used to generally refer to most of the cultures of European origin and most of their descendants. It comprises of the broad, geographically based, heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs such as religious beliefs and specific artifacts and technology as shared within the western sphere of influence.”3 Apart from the theoretical concept, in the real world we pay more attention on the external things like dresses, their way of living life, festivals, music, food habit and even skin tone. We are looking for these specific areas of influence in movies for our research.

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Wikipedia. “Culture” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/culture; 2 December 2008. Western Culture Global. “Western Culture Knowledge Centre: What is Western Culture?” http://www.westerncultureglobal.org/what-is-western-culture.html; 29 December 2008. Answer.com.”Western culture” http://www.answer.com/western%20culture; 2 December 2008.

“Bollywood http://en. 25 December 2008. METHODOLOGY EXPLANATION 4 Wikipedia. these Hindi movies are considered to show us how the mentioned certain features have been influenced by the course of time. we want to analyze whether our revealed assumption is right or wrong. So through the research on movies.”4However. .wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollywood.3 “The term Bollywood is the unofficial expression widely used for the Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India.

sleeveless tops. bikinis. miniskirts. boots for women. French kisses. by distributing surveys among fifty students of Access Academy which had questions about each of those components.com/. miniskirts.5 The result of the survey showed us that the clothes like jeans. sleeveless tops.4 This research was conducted in order to understand the extent of influence of western culture in Bollywood movies. fair skinned actors and shooting in Western countries. As we found that. were listed out and these components were again listed based on their importance in determining whether a film is westernized or not. coat and suits. we distributed another survey which asked the viewers the minimum criteria for determining whether a movie is 5 Spencers Western World. skinny dresses. bikinis. In order to find the degree of influence of western culture. boots for women. skinny dresses. French kisses. The fifteen characters that were analyzed in the survey were jeans. pointed heeled half shoes. Drinking brandy and whisky. In order to solve this problem. in the survey those components that were voted by more than fifty percent of the viewers as western. . These fifteen characters were the characters that are common to both Hindi films and English films that we watched and it also included the dresses which were tagged western by the famous western wear store Spencers in its website. coat and suits. We were confused about the usage of the above obtained information for determining whether a movie is westernized or not.” http://www. high heeled footwear. “Western Wear Clothing. 25 December 2008. t-shirts. Then. remix songs and ballet dances were considered as western influences. boots for men divorce and sex before marriage. we searched for the main components of a culture in the internet and based on these components we asked the people what western culture is. we did research in the internet to find out the real definition of Western Culture.spencerswesternworld. high heeled footwear. there does not exist an accurate definition for western culture. ballet dances. divorce and sex before marriage. remix song.

Each movie was watched twice and thoroughly analyzed based on the different criteria and it was found out how many of the movies were westernized. with mediocre audience eyes were now scrutinized through an analytical and critical angle. though we have tried to make it as simple as possible. the free encyclopedia. Most of the students did not even know meaning of many of the words that we have asked in the survey. But a great advantage of surveying 6 Wikipedia. The movies on the top of the list of the block buster hit of each year from 2005 to 2008 were selected and those movies which were made on a special theme like tradition or culture were omitted. So we could not get a hundred percent sincere response from most of the students. As the research is based on the opinion of just fifty students who are Asian and live in the same building. Dhoom-2. and Race and the two movies which were omitted from the list were “Jotha Akbar” and “Mongle pande”. Many difficulties aroused while carrying out the research. Those four movies were No Entry. http://en.wikipedia. The main difficulty was the troubles faced by the students in understanding the survey questions. The survey was conducted among thirty students as it was done in the vocation and most students were out of station. The movies were selected randomly to avoid bias. We understood this by asking some of the students the meaning of some terms like bikinis after they have returned back the surveys. The number of films we watched was also limited to eight. there are chances for the result for being biased.org/wiki/List_of_Bollywood_films. Welcome. Most of them were shy to ask the meaning and marked the answers just randomly. . List of Bollywood Films.6 The omission of these movies were done because they cannot be considered as a normal Hindi movie as they are totally based on the lifestyle of a particular time in the past or on a particular tradition and do not contain a minor trace of westernization. The movies which were watched before.5 westernized or not. Thus based on the suggestions of the viewer we watched four movies. 25 December 2008.

Access Academy can be seen as the microcosm of South Asia. RESEARCH FINDINGS .6 the Access Academy students was that having representatives from six different countries.

Sunny’s marriage was a love marriage. Sunny is the photographer for Kishan’s newspaper press. bikinis. The ladies working in Kishan’s Newspaper office wear western dresses like miniskirts and skinny dresses and Kishen who is a fully committed husband.7 The charectors that were opined to be western by the viewers in the first survey( see appendix survey1) are clothes like jeans. Prem on the other hand is a man who has several affairs with different women. all the female charectors wear the dresses suggested to be western by the AUW student spectators. who reposes complete trust on him. Prem and Sunny who are friends. skinny dresses. and Race. The movies were No Entry. and thus cheats up on his wife. Several parts of the movie are shot in western countries and some of the songs film Prem dancing with western women in bikinis. as he is afraid of his wife. remix songs and ballet dances. The movie No Entry represents the life of three Indians Kishan. divorce and sex before marriage. According to the second survey which asked the viewers the minimum criteria to tag a movie to showed that three of the charectors were the minimum necessity for a movie to have western influence. French kisses. admonishes them for being so revealing. Sunny marries a modern girl in the story who too wears the so called western dresses as found in the survey. coat and suits. sleeveless tops. high heeled footwear. Except Kishan’s and Prem’s wife. Kishan has a conservative wife who always suspects her husband for having another affair. We watched four movies as a part of our survey. Even the titles of three movies out of the movies we watched are in English. Dhoom-2. But he pretends to be a faithful husband in front of his wife. . boots for women. and he is like Kishan’s brother and he is ready to do whatever Kishan asks him to do. Welcome. miniskirts. This shows that seventy five percentage of the Hindi movies have English titles.

The movie also shows western . The movie is also notably western for having English lyrics in all of its nine songs. The movie too has several hit remix songs. The movie’s main character is a thief who is known as Mr. A and has committed major thefts including the robbery of “a priceless English Crown” without being caught by the police. The movie Race is totally shot abroad and it has an overwhelming use of English dialogue in most of the scenes. The movie represents the life of two brothers Ranvir Singh and Rajiv Singh who are exceedingly rich from the family property. Though she succeeds in doing so.8 The movie Dhoom 2 is also a movie which is terribly westernized. no one is ready to marry her. The police inspector appoints a female thief for tracing him and she succeeds to allure him with her beauty. The movie Welcome shows an underground king named Uday who loves his one and only sister Sanjana so much and is in search of a good groom for her. Sanjana fall in love with a guy named Rajiv and both of them together tries to bring her brother to the right path. There are parts in the story where the conversations are totally in English for a few minutes. In the Race movie the main female stars wear dresses that are western in the list. The heroine Sanjana wears miniskirts bikinis and all other dresses labeled western in the survey. Race also shows sex before marriage between the hero and heroine. Due to the criminal background of her brother. In the story the heroine wears short and skinny dresses and they use English dialogues too often. she finally falls in love with him and both of them decides to get married. The elder brother Ranvir Singh loves his brother while his brother Rajiv Singh is plans to kill his brother for getting the whole hereditary possessions. according to the research criteria. A totally western style dinner is arranged by the hero for the heroine. Ranvir Singh is crazy for horse race and he is an honest man who is ready to sacrifice everything for his brother.

allacademic. in his daily life. ANALYSIS Indian film Industry has progressed a lot in the past century in economy. Rao Shakuntala. “The Globalization of Hollywood.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/2/8/8/5/p228852_index.. The Hype and the Hope. 24 December 2008. The Bollywood movies shot in the affluent cities like Mauritius and Vancouver never show the dirty streets or the polluted cities that a common Indian citizen is exposed to. Kishan Thussu Dhaya.9 ways of marriage proposal and even it picturises a funeral which is fully western in style with everyone wearing black dress. Globalization has widened the audience spectrum and has made it accessible to viewers all over the world beyond the conventional South Asian audience. 8 Routledge. .” http://www. audience. if specially produced Hindi movies which represent a particular legend or cultural 7 All Academic Research. accessibility and popularity as the country itself has assimilated into the course of Globalization.pdf. 26 December 2008..7 But the same Globalization has led to the westernization of Bollywood movies and thus perhaps to the loss of the distinguished Indian culture in future.8 The results of the research shows that hundred percent of the Hindi movies are westernized. Taylor&Francis Group.” http://worldroom..html.tamu.edu/Presentations/India/Bollywood/The%20Globalization%20of %20Bollywood. The life of an original Indian is poles apart from the life of a westerner. Thus this Westernization of the Hindi films has distanced reality from the films and has generated “a recognizable disconnection between the content of the films and the lives of the audiences”. “The Globalization of Bollywood: An Ethnography of Nonelite Audiences in India.

Thus. 10 Nation and Language. As the four movies that were watched were taken from the top of the list of box office hits. imitates western culture often forgetting gradual erosion of their unique culture and traditions. Lal Deepak. the Indian youth in the quest for modernization.ppf.” http://www.” http://www. the overwhelmed use of English language in Hindi movies may gradually take away pure Hindi language from the Indian tongues. 1 January 2009. . 30 December 2008. from the research it may be concluded that the culture and lifestyle represented in Hindi movies represent Western rather than Indian and that this may lead to the loss of culture in the future. These results may imply the spread of a hip-hop culture in the Indian society as well. The movies like Lagaan and Jodha Akbar comes under this category. 9 Project Syndicate. 9 Therefore.ktu. “ Contact Languages in Modern India.10 This foreshadows the loss of Hindi language along with its culture and traditions in the future. This English usage in Hindi films along with the excessive use of English by urban Indians has together lead to the development of new “contact languages” like Indlish and Hinglish among which Hinglish is found to be excessively used in the Bollywood films.org/commentary/1064/1 . it is clear that these westernized movies are widely accepted by the viewers.lt/5Gazieva. Modern aspects of Socio-Linguistic development.10 aspect is omitted.doc. Apart from the cultural impacts of westernization on Indian culture due to the westernized Hindi movies.projectsyndicate. For instance. Westernization is often considered synonymous to modernization by Asians. Another reason for this wide spread Westernization in the Hindi movies and its wide acceptance among the viewers may be the general notion among the Asians that modernization is same as westernization. Gazieva Indira. “Modernization versus Westernization.

org/wiki/Globalization. 26 December 2008. Instead of uniqueness of culture. “Bollywood-A misleading model for contemporary cinema”. from industries. people just watch movies for having fun.11 Being a part of our culture. producers analyze mentality of the 11 Wikipedia. 13 Upperstall.com. they target youths to materialize their dream as they can be convinced easily15.allbusiness.13 Even. 28 December 2008.upperstall. 14 Strategy Page. Ibid.14 They know without critical eye. movies are also attacked globalization.strategypage. 16 AllBusiness. movies are supposed to represent our culture and distinctiveness.com/marketingadvertising/4199207-1.16. Their parents are also influenced because of them.com/2008/10/bollywood-misleading-model-for. for making money they are not thinking about providing messages.12 Although.html: 28 December 2008. 26 December 2008.com/content/what%E2%80%99swrong-with-indian-cinema. they are focusing on their own money making purpose. http://thecapeofgoodhope.html . “What’s wrong with indian cinema?” http://www. Also. “India Discussion Board” http://www. to culture nothing remains unscathed from globalization. “Globalization” http://en.wikipedia. “Seeking Out Youth? You Can Find It at the Movies” http://www. Moreover. 15 The cape of Good Hope. 12 .com/militaryforums/72-19003. 27 December 2008.blogspot. we don’t see it because of the money making objectives of some of the film producers.aspx.11 SUGGESTION In this world of globalization a variety of factors of our life has been commercialized.

something can be lasted longer in the mind of the viewers.. a courageous and confident mind is needed only. and their traditional activities. 17 Bollywood World. “India Discussion Board” http://www. . 20 Filmi Khabar. most of the other producers will also follow them and the forerunner will get acknowledgement. they can create movies based on history. 28 December 2008. they are including English lyrics and dialogue. patriotism. 28 December 2008. they use the same theme in most of the movies. ek dum taaza!. 22 Strategy page.bollywoodworld. Moreover.18 The manufacturer of the movies can emphasize on their distinctiveness in movies instead of being worried about western culture.com/whatisbollywood/. the viewers have to have the same feelings and have to use critical thinking and analytical skill while watching movies. 28 December 2008.com/movies/bollywood/jodha-akbar-boxoffice-verdict/. ethnicity. . . 19 Indicine.indiastar.20. Indian film”. “Swadesh. http://www. Mongle Pande). “Jodha Akbar Box Office Verdict”. 19. 28 December 2008. festivals.12 viewers. “BW: what is Bollywood” http://www.indicine. http://www. “Playback as Mass Fantasy: The Hindi Film Experience” http://www.com/Gehlawat. To take such initiatives. but they were popular and awarded. As example. “Aamir khan Box office” http://filmikhabar.com/militaryforums/72-19003.indiastar..strategypage.htm. 23 India Star Review of Books. “Playback as Mass Fantasy: The Hindi Film Experience” http://www.com/21/swadesh_indian_film.17 As they know by showing for several times. That can also be as popular as the movies with foreign features.com/2007/08/05/aamir-khan-boxoffice/.23 They should be respectful and proud to their culture and ethnicity.21 Moreover. 28 December 2008.com/Gehlawat. 21 Indianetzone. 28 December 2008. 28 December 2008. Along with producers.aspx. Once each film producer starts concentrating on their own ethnicity and background. Jodha Akbar and (Lagan. Swadesh which are based on the history and patriotism.html.html. religion.indianetzone.22 Also they are being seen exaggerating some features like trifle expressions. instead of misunderstanding.. 18 India Star Review of Books.

asp?lvl=3. 29 December 2008. 29 December 2008. This is alarming for the future of the Hindi movies as individuality and eccentricity are being lost. 28 ibid. it is the combination of our thoughts. law. 26 Free photos 4 ur social study: what is culture? “Culture is a system of building identity!!! http://www. 29 Western Culture Global. belief.13 CONCLUSION Culture is an inseparable part of a Society.htm. According to Edward B. and feelings. morals.26 We can share our culture and learn from others’ culture which helps us enriching our own one.org/what-is-western-culture. “What is culture?” http://www.25 The definition of culture differs with personality and community. Tylor (a pioneer English anthropologist in his book “primitive culture”). survey and observation we came to know that the Hindi movies are getting westernized gradually. 29 December 2008. Likewise the movies.dfait-maeci.sadashivan.com/freephotos4ursocialstudy/id23. deeds. 27 ibid. “Western Culture Knowledge Centre: What is Western Culture?” http://www.edu/culture/culture_1.28 Western culture has created a clash of culture in Indian society through influencing Bollywood. custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.westerncultureglobal.ca/cfsi-icse/cilcai/what_is_culture-en.palomar.27 But it is not acceptable when one culture starts to dominate the others or when one culture starts to intimate other one. art. .”24 Differently. “culture is a complex whole which includes knowledge.html.html. this is shocking for their culture because 24 25 Human Culture: What is culture? http://anthro.29 From our research. 29 December 2008. Centre for Intercultural learning.gc.

By avoiding watching programs with mediocre angle they will be able to do it. Also. People have to be objective while evaluating a culture. 30 As a citizen of a particular country. As a film producer they should focus on the history and culture. Often they are not so. “Film” http://en.14 movies are reflection of a particular culture. 30 Wikipedia.html.31 People should be careful by being active viewer. 29 December 2008. A careful spectator and a patriotic film producer can bring the solutions for our mentioned issue. movies are the representative of a typical ethnicity and society. 29 December 2008. 31 . culture and ethnicity. everyone should be respectful and considerate to what they have in their own culture and ethnicity.westerncultureglobal. Western Culture Global.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film. everyone has to have the same mentality towards their country.org/what-is-western-culture. “western Culture Knowledge Centre: what is Western Culture?” http://www. No matter if a person is a film producer or a viewer.

15 APPENDIX Background information about the movies. No Entry Genre: comedy Director: Anees Bazmee Writer: Anees Bazmee Release date: 26 August 2006 Film Stars Anil Kapoor Salman Khan Fardeen Khan Bipasha Basu Lara Dutta Esha Deol Celina Jaitley Roles Kishen Prem Sunny Bobby Kaajal Pooja Sanjana .

16 Boman Irani Minister P.C. Dixit Welcome Genre: Comedy/ Crime Director: Anees Bazmee .P.P Sonali Bose Ali Akbar Fateh Khan Sweet J.C. Gupta The movie is a remake of the Tamil movie Charlie Chaplin.K. Jai Dixit A. Dhoom 2 Genre: Action/ Thriller Director: Sanjay Gadhvi Writer: Vijay Krishna Acharya Release Date: 24 November 2006 Film Stars Roles Hrithik Roshan Aishwarya Rai Abhishek Bachchan Bipasha Basu Uday Chopra Rimi Sen Aryan Singh Sunehri A.

17 Writer: Anees Bazmee Release Date: 21 December 2007 Film Stars Akshay Kumar Nana Patekar Anil Kapoor Mallika Sherawat Katrina Kaif Feroz Khan Paresh Rawal Malaika Arora Roles Rajiv Uday Shankar Shetty Sagar ‘Majnu’ Pandey Ishika/ Isha Sanjana S. Ghunghroo Dancer com singer Race Genre: Thriller Director: Abbas Alibhai Burmawalla and Mastan Alibhai Burmawalla Release Date: 20 March 2008 Film Stars Bipasha Basu Roles Sonia . Shetty Ranvir ‘RDX’ Dhanraj Xaja Dr.

Do you think that divorces and sex before marriage is western? • Yes .18 Katrina Kaif Anil Kapoor Akshaye Khanna Saif Ali Khan Johnny Lever Sameera Reddy Sophia Robert C’costa Rajiv Singh Ranvir Singh Man at marriage registry Mini Survey(1): What is Western Culture? 1. Which of the following dresses do you think have come to the Hindi films from western culture? • • • • • • • • • • • Jeans T-shirts Miniskirts Sleeveless tops Bikinis Skinny dresses Coat and Suit for men Pointed heeled half shoes Pointed heeled footwear Boots for women Boots for men 2.

The filmstars in bollywood have fair skin. Is it western influence? • • Yes No 9. Drinking Whisky and Brandy in the films. Is it an imitation of Western people? • • Yes No 7. Can the high bass music and the remix songs in Hindi films be considered as a result of western influence? • • Yes No 5. Majority of the Hindi movies have many scenes shot in Western countries. Do you think French kisses are western? • Yes • No • Maybe 4.19 • No 3. Does it show that the viewers prefer western culture to eastern culture? • • Yes No 8. Do you think the Hindi films: • • are totally westernized maintain their unique traditions . Do you think Ballet dances are a western ? • • Yes No 6.

overwhelmed use of English dialogues. What do you think about the influence of western culture? • • Its excess influence has led to the loss of the unique Bollywood styles. It has helped in the combination of cultures. French kisses. What is the minimum number of the above mentioned characteristics that should be present in a movie for it to be called “a movie influenced by western culture”? 2. 10. Are there any other suggested criteria for discerning the westernized Bollywood movies? Graph 1 . Survey(2). divorce and sex before marriage.20 • have a mixed culture which is neither purely western nor purely Indian. 1. Now we would like to know how many of the criteria to label a Hindi film to be westernized. How to discern westernized Hindi movies? From the previous survey that we have distributed it is found that Western dresses. remix songs and ballet dances are considered western by the viewers.

21 Graph 2 a Percentages of students to lebel criteri westernized: .

22 Graph 2 b Percentages of students giving different suggestion: .

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“The Globalization of Hollywood. 4.bollywoodworld. 2. The Hype and the Hope. .”Western culture” http://www. 24 December 2008. All Academic Research. 28 December 2008. December 2 2008.com/marketing-advertising/4199207-1.allbusiness.com/western%20culture.” http://www.html. “BW: what is Bollywood” http://www.answer.com.com/whatisbollywood/.html . Kishan Thussu Dhaya.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/2/2/8/8/5/p228852_i ndex. AllBusiness. 26 December 2008.24 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Bollywood World. 3.allacademic. Answer. “Seeking Out Youth? You Can Find It at the Movies” http://www.

29 December 2008.com/Gehlawat. ek dum taaza!. “Swadesh.com/freephotos4ursocialstudy/id23. .com/21/swadesh_indian_film.sadashivan. “Playback as Mass Fantasy: The Hindi Film Experience” http://www. 28 December 2008.ca/cfsi-icse/cil- cai/what_is_culture-en. Free photos 4 ur social study: what is culture? “Culture is a system of building identity!!!” http://www.25 5. 28 December 2008. Centre for Intercultural learning.dfait-maeci.gc.htm. http://www. 28 December 2008. Indianetzone.html. . .indianetzone. 10.edu/culture/culture_1. Filmi Khabar. 8. 6...indiastar.asp?lvl=3. Human Culture: What is culture? http://anthro. 29 December 2008. Indian film”. India Star Review of Books.com/2007/08/05/aamir-khan-box-office/.htm.html.. 29 December 2008.palomar. “Aamir khan Box office” http://filmikhabar. 7. 9. “What is culture?” http://www.

aspx.tamu. . 13. Modern aspects of Socio-Linguistic development..com/movies/bollywood/jodha-akbar-box-office-verdict/.ktu. “The Globalization of Bollywood: An Ethnography of Non-elite Audiences in India. Nation and Language. 14. Rao Shakuntala. Taylor&Francis Group.strategypage. 15. Spencers Western World. “ Contact Languages in Modern India.org/commentary/1064/1 . “Jodha Akbar Box Office Verdict”.pdf. 16.com/.edu/Presentations/India/Bollywood/The%20Globalization %20of%20Bollywood. 26 December 2008.spencerswesternworld. 25 December 2008. Project Syndicate. Strategy Page. Lal Deepak.com/militaryforums/72- 19003.” http://www. “India Discussion Board” http://www.26 11.. 1 January 2009. 28 December 2008. http://www.” http://www. 30 December 2008. 12.project- syndicate.” http://worldroom. 28 December 2008. Indicine. “Western Wear Clothing..indicine.lt/5Gazieva.doc. Gazieva Indira. Routledge.” http://www. “Modernization versus Westernization.ppf.

22. http://en.html. List of Bollywood Films. 25 December 2008.27 17. “Bollywood http://en. “Bollywood-A misleading model for contemporary cinema”. “Culture” http://en.org/what-is-western-culture. Wikipedia. December 25 2008. 27 December 2008. the free encyclopedia.org/wiki/Bollywood. Upperstall.html: 27 December 2008. “Western Culture Knowledge Centre: What is Western Culture?” http://www. Western Culture Global.blogspot. The cape of Good Hope.com. 21. Wikipedia. 19.westerncultureglobal. 20.wikipedia. 2 December 2008.org/wiki/culture.com/2008/10/bollywood-misleading-modelfor. http://thecapeofgoodhope. .com/content/what %E2%80%99s-wrong-with-indian-cinema. Wikipedia.wikipedia.wikipedia. 18.upperstall.org/wiki/List_of_Bollywood_films. “What’s wrong with indian cinema?” http://www. 29 December 2008.

“Film” http://en. .org/wiki/Globalization. “Globalization” http://en. 26 December 2008. 29 December 2008. Wikipedia.28 23.org/wiki/Film. 24. Wikipedia.wikipedia.wikipedia.