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Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2021

Bollywood is among the world’s leading film industries. Producing about 800 films annually, the Indian-based film sector is one of the major cinematic production enterprises that rival America’s widely successful Hollywood industry (Hill, 2017). Bollywood has attracted audiences not only from India but also from around the world (Hill, 2017). This paper investigates the effects of Bollywood on the UAE, the role of the UAE-based Indian population in aiding its success, and the possible role of cultural imperialism in understanding its growth and dominance in the country.

Is the UAE the Starting Point for the Globalization of Bollywood Movies?

Hill (2017) suggests that the UAE is the starting point for the globalization of Bollywood. I agree with this view because the UAE is the third most popular market for Bollywood movies after the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) (Dani, 2016). The presence of many Indian films in the Dubai International Film Festival is a testament to this fact because every year, thousands of fans from all over the world come to the UAE to review Bollywood films and interact with its actors (Dani, 2016). Few other places around the world display Bollywood films as the UAE does. Therefore, the oil-rich nation is a starting point for the globalization of Bollywood movies because of its ability to attract international audiences to view its films.

Bollywood and the Expatriate Indian Audience

Dani (2016) assumes that most Bollywood movies shown in the UAE appeal to the expatriate Indian audience. I agree with this view because the success of this film industry in the UAE depends on the strong support of the expatriate Indian community in the country.

Here, it is important to understand that about 27% of the UAE population is of Indian heritage (NRI, 2017). Reports also show that most of the native population in some emirates, such as Abu Dhabi, is also of Indian origin (NRI, 2017). Bollywood is an Indian-based film industry and a significant percentage of the Indian population, which lives in the UAE, connects with it because it represents a part of their culture. Therefore, cultural similarities that exist between India and the UAE have played a significant role in contributing to Bollywood’s popularity in the oil-rich nation. These insights show that there is a connection between Indians living in the UAE and Bollywood’s success in the country.

Consequences of Bollywood on the Emirati Culture and the Growing Film Industry in the UAE

Bollywood has had a significant impact on UAE society. For example, it has exposed UAE nationals to the Indian culture, which forms the foundation of most of its films. Consequently, Emiratis have become enlightened about the differences between their local and Indian cultures. Similarly, through this exposure, they have developed an improved appreciation for cultural similarities and differences between Arabic and Indian values and norms. For example, the emphasis on family and marriage (or the troubles that bequeath it) in most Bollywood films highlight the similarities between Arab and Indian cultures because both of them place a strong emphasis on the two aspects of social development (family and marriage).

Bollywood films have also enriched the UAE culture through language and dressing because viewers emulate how the actors speak and dress in everyday life. In addition, Bollywood has helped to make UAE residents appreciate Indian culture better, through increased familiarity with Indian food, dressing, language, education systems, and lifestyles. For example, the Dubai government recently opened a Bollywood theme park.

Bollywood has also affected the growing film industry in the UAE by exposing some of the weaknesses of Arab films. For example, Kannan (2014) says Emiratis like watching Bollywood films because they are funnier than Arab movies. In this regard, Bollywood has given the UAE film industry a blueprint for developing its films. More importantly, it has provided a framework for making Arab films more commercially appealing.

Role of Cultural Imperialism

The concept of cultural imperialism relates to the creation of unequal relationships between different cultures. I believe this concept does not relate to the globalization of Bollywood movies because the film industry tries to break down the cultural barriers, which have made it difficult for non-American films to have the same type of global success as Hollywood. Indeed, Bollywood has disseminated the walls of cultural imperialism, propagated by Hollywood films, by showing a different side of filmmaking.

The success of this third-world film industry has demonstrated to other countries that a non-American film business can be as successful as Hollywood. Its success stems from its ability to be true to its core audience (non-Americans). Consequently, upcoming film industries, such as the African-based Nollywood are following the same blueprint.

Contrary to the principles of cultural imperialism which have a for a long time elevated American films above all others, Bollywood has demonstrated that it could also have an impact on dominant cultures, such as the American culture, as observed through its influence on American fashion and dance. For example, Indian dances and fashion items have appeared in Hollywood films and added to America’s diversity. Broadly, these insights show that the concept of cultural imperialism does not apply to the growth of Bollywood.

Conclusion

A review of the insights highlighted in this paper show that the Bollywood film industry has not only had a significant impact on the UAE society, but also around the world. The film’s success has inspired filmmakers in the developing world to believe that they can also succeed if they remain authentic and true to their core audience. Considering a majority of people are unaware of its effects, the influence of the film industry could increase in the coming years. Overall, this document shows that new and subtle cultural influences stemming from Bollywood have helped to make the UAE a better and more enriched society.

References

Dani, A. (2016). . Khaleej Times.

Hill, R. (2017). . Odyssey. Web.

Kannan, P. (2014). . The National. Web.

NRI. (2017). . Web.

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"Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE." IvyPanda, 9 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/globalization-of-bollywood-and-its-effects-on-the-uae/.

1. IvyPanda. "Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE." June 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/globalization-of-bollywood-and-its-effects-on-the-uae/.


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IvyPanda. "Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE." June 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/globalization-of-bollywood-and-its-effects-on-the-uae/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE." June 9, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/globalization-of-bollywood-and-its-effects-on-the-uae/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Globalization of Bollywood and Its Effects on the UAE'. 9 June.

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