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Laura Kunnas

on 9 November 2014

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Transcript of Bollywood

Stereotype: Hindu Morals
60s & 70s : traditional Hindu values and morals –
wearing traditional Indian clothes, believing in god,
obeying parents, consuming no alcohol and drugs,
minimal interaction between sexes etc.
Singing and Dancing
- Vibrant costumes, rigorous shaking of hips, fast paced dance movements.
A changing industry

Traditional vs Westernization
Westernization plays a large role in influencing Bollywood movies.
A stereotypical dance scene
- 70s : Cabaret style, eventually replaced
by the next new trend Disco.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
- 50s & 60s : Classical Indian & Folk Dance.
Eg: Kathak, Bharatanatyam
- 80s : Introduction of MTVs, Bollywood dance
incorporated elements of Hip-Hop.
Singing and Dancing
- Modern era : Bollywood remains heavily influenced by the West.
- Incorporated elements of frequent costume and location changes and large dance troops. (Elements similar to Flash Mob dance)
Classical dance in movie
Raj Tilak (1958)
Cocktail (2012)
A party scene
"Background music" song scene
Raanjhanaa (2013)
Stereotypes: Singing and Dancing
Early Bollywood Films : feature diegetic music which were sung by ‘offscreen playback singers’.
Modern Bollywood Films : characters sing while dancing. Illustrates diminishing culture of lip-synch which is unique to the Bollywood industry.
Facebook page - ‘Bring Back the Lip-Synch Song’, for fans to voice their passion for this music by posting links to Bollywood Songs.
Stereotypes: Muslim
Minor, less significant roles.
Propagated idea that Muslims are more faithful to their religion than their nation stereotyping Muslim as terrorists and intolerant.
- Post 9/11 : Muslim became stuck with the stereotype as
- 50s & 60s : Kings, Nawabs and feudal roles

- 70s : from aristocrats to hedonists

- Late 80s, early 90s : Kashmir issue; Muslims as terrorists and intolerant.
Example : ‘Qayamat’: City Under Threat (2003)
Stereotypes: Christians
Christians, especially females, portrayed as
liberal. Example: Julie (1975)- female lead engaged in pre-marital sex.
Stereotyped as alcoholics. Example: Socha Naa Tha (2005) - a Christian family and their preoccupation with drinking.
Example: Cocktail (2012)- Christian female lead, Veronica, is portrayed as a sexy and adventurous party girl.
Modern era : Bollywood movies defy traditional moral codes - casual dressing, increased interaction between sexes, defiance towards parents to pursue love or aspirations etc.
Stereotypes: Action scenes
Religion & movies
Many elements are inspired by their western
counterpart (Hollywood) Example : Mass dancing
Most of the shifts in stereotypes are also influenced by the liberal ideas of the West. Example : Dressing style
However, certain aspects like singing and dancing still remain as a tradition in a typical successful Bollywood movie.
Son of Sardaar
Sardar = colloquially used to refer to
Sikh men who wear the turban
- Big, fair skinned
- Carries sword or stick
- Loud, bad English, funny
- Eats chicken, drinks
- Bhangra / Giddha
- Turban, jutti, Punjabi suit
- "Balle balle"
- Big, dark skinned
- Carries sword or stick
- Intelligent, nerdy, educated
- Vegetarian: idli, dosa
- Bharatanatyam / Kathakali
- Lungi, saree, flowers in hair
- "Aiyaiyo"
"Hindi cinema is based on the memory of caricatures, in which people are reduced to stereotypes."
- Mahesh Bhatt
- Distinct looks, dress, names, accent, phrases, customs, culture
Stereotypes of India's states
Aiyyaa (2012)
Fearless, righteous, strong, proud,
large-hearted, naïve
- Stereotypes : Absurd, Exaggerated, Overly dramatic, Unrealistic etc.
- Remains exaggerated but the level of exaggeration has been toned down.
Changing Roles of Men
• “The heroes we want to watch in Cinema”
• Fighting for the good, victory over evil
• Fighting against society’s norms for what’s right
Romantic Hero
Shree 420 (1955)
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003)
Muqaddar ka Sikandar (1978)
• “The heroes we sympathize with in Cinema”
• Flawed character, incompatible goals or methods
• Redemption & learning from mistakes
Awara (1951)
Guide (1965)
Haider (2014)
Head of household
• Concept of masculinity
• Upholds traditional values
• Cannot depend of others, but be the superior in household
Kagaz ke Phool (1959)
English Vinglish (2012)
• Rebellious – Rebels against family’s wishes
• Obedient – Fulfilling family’s wishes
Mother India (1957)
3 Idiots (2009)
Zakhm (1998)
Padosan (1968)
Masculine traits

• Taking initiative for the ‘chase’
• Beating the competition
• Singing and dancing
Changing Roles of Men
No significant role changes over time

• Role of son changed from a “Men” to “Youth” role

Emphasis still on
• Masculinity and masculine behaviours
• Filial piety
Changing Roles of Youths
• Focus on youths was absent in early Bollywood

• Youth revolution and coming of age films only occurred in 1980s onwards

• Current films have more focus on youths
The ‘rebellious’ phase 
• Having fun, making friends, rebelling against society and parents
Phase of introspection, self-discovery
and transition into adulthood
• Political, philosophical, and psychological
Always Kabhi Kabhi (2011)
3 Idiots (2009)
Changing Roles of Youths
The roles of youths have changed
- From one dimensional to multi dimensional characters

- Films now targeting the youth and young adult demographic, hence shift in
roles of youth
Raaz 3 (2012)
The changing roles of women
- Daughter
- Mother
- Item girl / Lover / Wife
- 21st century:
Independent woman
Umrao Jaan (1981)
Happy New Year (2014)
Don (1978)
Daughter / Mother / Wife
Heroine / Lover
Item girl in
item song
item number
Independent Woman
Mardaani (2014)
Gulaab Gang (2014)
Kahaani (2012)
- Heros glorified like gods
- God helps the good guys
Ram-Leela (2013) Controversy
Vijeta (1982)
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001)
English Vinglish (2012)
- Slow shift from a traditional Indian woman to a modern woman
- Shift from a shy, innocent, obedient, good Indian girl to a bold, independent woman
Dhoom 3 (2014)
Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002)
Notorious lover
- Courtesans
Dostana (2008)
A new kind of Bollywood heroine
Impact on the Diaspora
and the global outreach
1) Impact on the Diaspora
Findings from survey
- Positive and negative impacts on the diaspora
- Future developments

2) Global outreach
Findings from survey
– Influence of Indian cinema on the global level
– Limitations of the influence of Indian cinema on the
global level
– Future developments
Goodness Gracious Me
Survey methodology:
– Target audience: Individuals of South Asian descent, with a rage of backgrounds:

• Born and raised in India, parents born and raised in India
• Born and raised in Singapore, parents born and raised in
• Born and raised in Singapore, parents born and raised in

– Goals: To find out personal views on Indian Cinema in order to assess the impact of Indian Cinema on the Diaspora
Impact on Diaspora: Survey results
• Born in India, raised in India, parents born in India

- Watch Bollywood
movies the most regularly
(once or a few
times a week)
- Good form of light
- Although they do admit
that it is sometimes very
Survey findings
“Bollywood movies are grand, musical and
have a mix of everything including comedy and
some action as well. A movie with catchy songs
are always good. I am living abroad [now] so
they bring a taste of homeland.”
Survey findings
Survey findings
• Born and raised in
Singapore, parents born
and raised in India

- Watch quite regularly
(once every few months)
- Acknowledge the
perpetuation of
stereotypes in Bollywood
movies and non-existent
plots in movies
- But treat Bollywood
movies as good fun and
light entertainment and an
important part of identity
“A lot of Indians abroad are only exposed
to Indian culture and especially language
because of these movies and their impact
on the diaspora is very very real.”
• Born and raised in
Singapore, parents also
raised in Singapore

- Watch Bollywood movies
fairly frequently as well
(Once every few months)
- Watch it for light
entertainment value
- Acknowledge that
Bollywood movies are
an integral part of Indian
culture, and for some, it is
an important reminder of
their heritage
“It's a link to their culture. But speaking
from experience, it's a HUGE part of their
lives, because Bollywood songs are always
played at functions, weddings, carnivals,
you name it.”
Positive Impact on the Diaspora
1) Building sense of identity***

- Cutting across borders
- Use of songs that are recognisable
across generations

2) Influencing other industries
such as music, fashion, consumer

- Strong impact in influencing trends
among masses overseas as well,
particularly in South Asia itself
- Fashion: Waning
- Bhangra music: Bhangra
rhythms mixed with techno beats

3) Light hearted entertainment
Limitations on the Impact of Bollywood on the Diaspora
1) Perpetuating stereotypes
- Although this is changing

2) “Embarrassing”
- Over acting, unrealistic fight scenes, no plot lines
- “Guilty pleasure”

3) Draggy and long movies
- Usually around 2 hours long
•Bollywood is a very integral part of Indian culture. It is a mirror and a bridge for the diaspora to know and feel connected to their roots

Bollywood and its impact on the diaspora is not a
one-way interaction, Bollywood influences and is
influenced by the diaspora. This is seen in changing stereotypes as seen in the earlier part of the presentation

• Importance of family and community in
perpetuating the identity as well

Moulin Rouge:
Chamma Chamma
Global outreach
Survey methodology
- Target audience: Non-South Asian individuals

- Goals: To assess the global perception of Bollywood and other sources of Indian cultural influence
Not many people watch
Bollywood movies (only 30%)

Top 5 words that people
associate with Indian Cinema:
- Dancing
- Singing
- Shaking
- Fun
- Trees

Other sources of exposure:
- Friends
- Food
- American sitcoms like Big Bang Theory
Most have watched
Bollywood movies before

Top 5 words associated with

- Music
- Dance
- Colours
- Love
- Drama/ Melodrama

Other sources of exposure:

- Inter-cultural marriages
- Bollywood dance class
- Friends
- Hindu religion/ philsophy
Limitations on Global Outreach
1) Language barrier

2) Reach/ Accessibility
Access to these films are limited, usually found in
ethnic enclaves, but this is changing

3) Cultural references
Might not be able to understand subtle cultural
references (e.g. religious imagery)

4) Appreciation of aesthetics but not the meaning behind the appearances
Moving forward
• Moving forward, the infusion of Indian culture into mass media and television will help bridge the gap between India and the Globe

• Efforts from India

• 3 Idiots
- Won MANY awards
- Plans for Hollywood remake and a Stephen Chow rendition of the movie
- First Indian movie to premier on Youtube

• My Name is Khan

• Appeal lies in themes that
are relatable to many non-
Indian audiences
Moving forward: Bridging the Gap
• Bend It Like Beckham:
- Nominations in MANY British and Australian film festivals including a Golden Globe nomination
- Won many British awards

• Slumdog Millionare:
- 4 Golden Globes, 8 Academy Awards, 7 BAFTA Awards

• TV Sitcoms: Big Bang
Theory, Community

• Stand up comedians:
Russell Peters
Moving Forward: Other sources of influence
Even in MUSIC: A.R. Rahman and the Pussycat Dolls; Jai Ho (You Are My Destiny)
Parallel Cinema
- Originated in Bengal in the 50s
- Alternative to mainstream commercial Bollywood
- Resurgence in the 90s: off-beat & art films
Stereotypes and the changes in them:
- Happy ending
- Characters' looks & costumes
- Movie length
- Dance & Songs
- Stereotypes on religious / regional groups
- Westernization
- Action
- Religion
- Roles of men / youth / women

+ Impact on diaspora & wordwide
Traditional Roles:

• Hero
• Head of household
• Son
• Husband/Lover
Devdas (1955)

Awaara (1951)

Movie Endings

Guide (1965)

Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Pyaasa (1957)

Movie Endings

148 mins

168 mins

193 mins

193 mins

Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)

Shree 420 (1955)

Devdas (1955)

Awaara (1951)


157 mins

183 mins

152 min

197 mins

Padosan (1968)

Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)

Guide (1965)

Mughal-E-Azam (1960)


192 min

173 min

178 min

171 mins

182 mins

Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)

Tezaab (1988)

Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)

Bazaar (1982)

Silsila (1981)


144 mins

177 min

133 min

143 min

122 min

Gol Maal (1979)

Kabhi Kabhie (1976)

Aandhi (1975)

Amar Prem (1973)

Anand (1971)


179 min

174 mins

Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)


128 min

138 min

152 min

224 min

210 min

Dhoom 2 (2006)

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001)

Love Aaj Kal (2009)

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

Jab We Met (2007)

186 mins

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)


153 min

141 min

172 min

146 min

156 min

126 min

Dhoom 3 (2013)

Bang Bang (2014)

Chennai Express (2013)

Cocktail (2012)

Ra.One (2011)

Guzaarish (2010)

2010 - present

2 Guns (2013)

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Casino Royale (2006)

Twilight (2008)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

Batman Begins

Hollywood Movie Posters

88 mins

104 min 

85 min

Hyderabad Blues (1998)

A Wednesday! (2008)

I Am Kalam 

Movie Length

- entertainment, no connection to the plotline
- often sexually provocative
Jalebi Bai in Double Dhamaal (2011)
Ghagra in Yeh Jawaani hai Dewani (2013)
Full transcript