If somebody were to ask you to name the film capital of the world what would you say?
I am going to make a presumption and guess that your answer would be ‘Hollywood’. Hollywood has undeniably made an outstanding contribution to mainstream film, without Hollywood we would have never been able to enjoy the likes of Spiderman, E.T, The Green Mile, James Bond etc. So, I agree that Hollywood deserves a huge round of applause, in fact it probably deserves a round of applause, a bunch of flowers and a bottle of champagne for the number of stories it has brought to life. However, with all this glitz, glamour and wealth Hollywood has cast a shadow over the other film hub of the world – Mumbai.
Fun Fact: The word ‘Bollywood’ itself is a fusion of Hollywood and Bombay (the former name of Mumbai).
Let’s now see how Hollywood and Bollywood compare:
Revenue: Hollywood wins the round based on revenue per annum; this is because of the higher prices paid in the West.
Highest number of films produced per year: In 2012 India produced 1602 films, in comparison to 476 in US and 745 in China.
Highest number of tickets sold: Bollywood sell 2.6 billion tickets per year, that is almost double the amount of tickets to film screening than Hollywood at 1.36 million.
Richest film stars: India is home to San Rukh Khan, the second richest film star in the world, who is estimated to be worth $600m however, Jerry Seinfeld beat him to first place being worth around $840.
GDP: The entertainment industry in both the USA and in India is strong, adding 1.7% and 0.5% respectively to the country’s GDP
Historically these two film cores have competed for revenue and audience but something interesting is now happening – they are showing signs of collaborating instead. The Western film industry is keen to tap into Indian capital and talent. Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks made a co-production deal worth $825 million with Indian industrialist Anil Ambani’s Reliance Big Entertainment. Charles Darby (a renowned British special effects artist) has also followed suit by building a special effects studio in Mumbai that he believes will match rivals in Hollywood and London.
So if Hollywood and Bollywood did continue to collaborate what could be gained? The culture of each is very different; Hollywood would benefit from injecting India’s flexible, tolerant and creative approach to film making instead of following the structured approach it is well known for. Likewise Hollywood could be the catalyst that India’s film scene needs to accelerate professionalism.
If both film-giant’s strength cancels out the others weakness, then Hollywood’s partnership with Bollywood will turn out to be a win-win deal.