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The Globalization Reader, 5th Edition by John Boli, Frank J. Lechner

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50 Bollywood versus HollywoodBattle of the Dream Factories

Heather Tyrrell

Introduction

Theorisation around cinema and globalisation has largely been structured in terms of a basic opposition between Western commercial and culturally imperialist cinema, and Third World non-commercial, indigenous, politicised cinema. Much criticism of Hollywood and much support for alternative cinemas have been based on this understood opposition. ‘Bollywood', North Indian popular commercial cinema, is an anomalous case which forces us to re-think the global map of cultural consumption and challenge the assumptions generally made concerning world cinema.

While India is not the only non-Western country with a commercial, popular, indigenous cinema – the cinemas of Hong Kong, China, Mexico and Brazil could be similarly described – its film industry is at this time experiencing rapid changes which make it a particularly pertinent subject for examination. ‘“Bollywood” has become widespread [sic] nomenclature for the Indian movie industry in recent times' and amalgamates two names: ‘Hollywood', and ‘Bombay' (India's commercial hub, now renamed Mumbai). But is Bollywood named in imitation of Hollywood, or as a challenge to it? For many years commentators have assumed the former, but if Bollywood were simply a substitute for Western film while economic barriers prevented the import of the original, once those barriers collapsed it would be expected that Bollywood would collapse too.

However, Indian ...

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