Partho Dasgupta: “Tollywood’s takeover of Bollywood is indicative of the change in viewership choices of the audience”
Tollywood, Sandalwood, Bhojwood, Pahariwood. no these are not the names of different types of woods, these are the different movie industries in Bollywood representing a region. Even if the name Bollywood is a moniker for the Indian film industry, it has always been used to represent Hindi cinema. The diversity of India can be truly seen through the Indian film industry. The industry has never been able to represent other languages or their art in a way that they deserve, however things have transposed.
What exactly happened that a billion-dollar industry is now hanging by a thread as far as profits are concerned. Actors were once called stars because they were thought to be out of reach, they were revered as gods, and temples were dedicated to them. Today they face trolling from people on social media and have frequently come on the receiving end of the audience’s wrath.
Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex-CEO states “The apparent downtrend of this mammoth industry cannot be attributed to one thing only, there are various factors at play here. Bad content, cancel culture, not being able to connect with the audience, business practices, etc. have led to negative public sentiment. Also, the innovative content put out by the OTT channels has led to a strong competition that Bollywood has not been able to overcome.”
Even though movie making is an art it is about numbers as well. Most of the highest-paid actors also have not been able to pull the audience to the cinema halls. According to a report by Ormax and Group M, the Box- office revenue is touted to be a record ₹12,515 crores in 2022, easily surpassing the previous high of ₹10, 948 crores in 2019. Even though the numbers are great but most of the profits come from the South film industry. The top three on the highest-grossing films’ roster are KGF, RRR, and Vikram, all south Indian films!
“Even though the regional cinema has always produced great content, Tollywood has come up surprisingly as the most loved industry and even the highest paid actors of Indian film industries are thronging towards the south for roles. Bahubali can be considered as the one film that opened the door for Hindi speaking audience,” shares Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex CEO.
So why exactly is Bollywood facing this identity crisis? Well, the first and foremost is the content. Bollywood has been known for plagiarism for a long time however, people then were not exposed to any international cinema. Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex CEO says, “With the advent of OTT platforms, the change in content came so quickly that Bollywood has not been able to keep up. Documentaries, specials, international cinema, comedy specials, etc. are easily available on these platforms and there is something for everyone in terms of content.”
People now know which movies were a “REMAKE” and which were original. Even the Hindi music industry which has long carried the films on its shoulders and increased the footfall in theatres is failing to impress the audiences with their recreation of old songs. The REMIXIFICATION of songs has been heavily trolled and disliked online.
Another reason may be that people have become weary of the ostentatious display of Bollywood and want something relatable and real. When they see South Indian actors donning simple clothes, going to temples, and dressed in traditional attire, they feel closer to them. There is a huge shift in the way people are now perceiving their “Idols”.
Even the business practices in the industry have been questioned in the past few years with nepotism being at the center of all debates. “People love an underdog, and watching children from famous Bollywood families seamlessly get opportunities in Bollywood also seems to be enraging the audience,” says Partho Dasgupta BARC Ex CEO.
Bollywood which was once a dreamland for many is now seeking acceptance from the audience and trying to reach them in different ways. However, it is always the content that will win and Bollywood needs to introspect on how exactly it is going to produce original films and music. An overhauling of the whole industry is required if they wish to survive this highly competitive world where the audience is spoilt for choices.