It is already old news, having been reported in the BBC over a year ago, but I just learned that Hindi movies are on the way out. With is focus on big budget (“multi crore“) spectaculars aimed at the transnational Indian audience (NRIs), Bollywood seems to have lost its way with viewers in India’s heartland. They have turned to films produced in the Bhojpuri language, which is related to Hindi, but retains is own distinctive characteristics.
With an audience of over two hundred million speakers in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Bhojpuri films are able to earn enough money to lure some of the top Bollywood stars, including the “Big B” himself, Amitabh Bachchan. While the BBC emphasizes the emphasis on “marriage and family,” my friend from Bihar was telling me that there might be a more radical reason for the popularity of these films, as they express the dissatisfaction of rural Indians — a topic that was popular in the Bollywood films of the 1970s, the only Bollywood films which are still watched in these areas.