India’s Bollywood is facing its biggest crisis in history with poor screenplay, bad music, streaming services, and non-Hindi South competitors stealing its luster. India’s Bollywood film industry, part of the cultural fabric of the film-mad nation of 1.4 billion people, has been struggling in the last 3 years, just after COVID-19. There is an increasing perception, of “why Bollywood is failing?”
It is a wake-up call for Bollywood bigwigs, people employed in this sector, and viewers who have been entertained by this for decades. According to FICCI Media and Entertainment Report 2020, according to industry estimates, the Indian film industry generated a revenue of Rs 191 billion (Rs 19,100 billion) in 2019 and employed more than 500,000 workers.
Now, the Bollywood Industry seems to be in crisis in the last few years as a large number of films, particularly high-profile projects involving attractive star cast performed very badly at the box office and in the ticket counters. Many of the big movies that were expected to be smashing hits performed miserably. Why Bollywood is falling? And the reasons have to be looked into.
Emergence of Non-Hindi Films and Increasing South-Indian Dominance
Many non-Hindi films, especially dubbed South Movies are taking centerstage with unique and locally admirable content that keeps them wedded to ground. On the other hand, Bollywood movies are increasingly coming under Western and Hollywood influence and making films that general moviegoers are unable to understand and relate to. There is a large-scale debate not just in India but worldwide about why Bollywood is failing.
Poor Content & Script and Bad Music
Poor content and music are the biggest culprits of such failures. In the last 10 years, good music and songs have vanished from Bollywood movies. You can’t find popular Hindi film songs that are recited in the streets of India. This is a very pathetic situation as good and enchanting music used to play a major role in the success of the film. That is why Bollywood is failing and seems to be in crisis today.
If the Bollywood Industry continues to decline like this, its impact may be catastrophic for the entire Indian entertainment industry. There may be varied reasons but it is certainly a cause of concern for people involved with the Mumbai film Industry.
- Bollywood industry releases between 1500 – 2000 films annually, compared to less than 500 films by Hollywood.
- Bollywood’s revenue is projected to reach $3.7 billion (31,000 Crores) by 2024.
- The global Bollywood audience was estimated to be 3.6 billion (360 Crores) in 2020.
- Indians buy 2.7 billion ( 270 Crores) movie theatre tickets annually, the most in the world.
- There are more than 2,000 screens available digitally for movies in India.
- Tickets for Bollywood movies are comparably cheaper with an average price of $0.5.
- Bollywood employs over 230000 people directly.
- Approximately 14 million (1.4 crores) Indians go to the cinema daily
What is going on in Bollywood Today?
2023 has been a challenging year for the Bollywood industry and the industry is at a critical juncture. The traditional structure of male-driven dramas with weak storylines and an unwavering belief in star power no longer resonates with viewers. Big-budget films starring big actors like Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, and Ranbir Kapoor failed to make an impact, leading to questions about the industry’s identity. In contrast, the South Indian film industry flourished, with films like RRR and Pushpa. Find the reason why Bollywood is failing!
Today, Indian films, particularly Hindi films are coming up with contents that have unwanted sex, violence, and rape scenes. Such scenes are being put in the films because of Western influence and there has been a notion among filmmakers that such scenes would drive audience. But such thinking is unfounded and has nothing to do with the success of the film. Few non-visionary and half-learned filmmakers do come up with such scripts for instant success and the result is dismal.
The success of South Indian films in 2023 highlights the changing tastes of the audience. These films stood out because they explored relatable stories and were rooted in ordinary people’s experiences, rather than relying on conventional narratives. Hindi films can learn from this approach and focus on telling well-written, relatable stories that resonate with viewers.
Impact of Over-the-Top (OTT) Platforms
The rise of OTT platforms has revolutionized the Indian entertainment industry. With a rich selection of content, viewers now have access to international productions and diverse stories. OTT platforms have democratized the industry, creating opportunities for lesser-known but talented actors, writers, directors, and producers. Fairer pay and a reasonable system are attracting creative people who previously had difficulty finding regular employment. Bollywood can learn from the success of OTT platforms by embracing new talent, exploring diverse narratives, and pushing the boundaries of storytelling.
Need for Variety and Change in Script
Bollywood’s age-old formula of relying on star power and uninspired storytelling is no longer effective. For the industry to survive and thrive, it must listen to its audience and offer a wide range of stories that cover all aspects of storytelling. Films like ‘Jagjug Jeeyo’, ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’, and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ tackled contemporary themes like marital discord, comedy-horror, and crime thrillers and struck a chord with the audience. Bollywood needs to embrace this diversity and explore untapped genres and themes to attract viewers.
Lessons from South Indian Cinema
South Indian films have distinguished themselves by incorporating real historical events and focusing on lesser-known cultural aspects. Bollywood can take inspiration from these successes and explore stories rooted in India’s diverse history and cultural fabric. By exploring previously ignored stories, Bollywood can reconnect with the public and create its own identity.