Does Bollywood overshadow regional cinema. ... that's our topic today. A tough one for me who is not a very keen fan of the movies. Yet no one can be immune to them. Go to any party and Antakshri or 'dumb charades' of movie names will follow you there. Turn on the telly and the actors are goading you to buy this oil or that cream or car or TV. Yet these are mostly for those from the Hindi movies- Bollywood, at least that's what I see in Maharashtra.
Marathi cinema was not doing too well some time ago yet has made some form of resurgence lately. The shows find a place in multiplexes and 'Shwas' even got nominated for the Oscar. Yet most get categorised in the 'art' category. I dont have enough exposure to other regional cinema but I do know that the southern industry is booming, its actors have almost cult following. I hear that Bhojpuri cinema too is doing pretty well.
The two prominent politicians that cinema has given Indian politics are from the South-NTR and J Jayalalitha. Hindi stars have failed to make a mark in national politics- with the Big B making a quiet exit. Shotgun Sinha and Garam Dharam and Govinda too don't make the kind of waves they would on the cash registers. So does that mean regional cinema is overshadowed? Certainly not.
If one talks purely of money then I guess Hindi stars command huge rates but probably matched by some southern stars. Hindi is our national language and often movies serve as a means for people to learn basics of communicating Hindi. Not only India I heard German girls speaking Hindi all learnt from our very own Shah Rukh’s films. I am told Raj Kapoor films evince the same interest in Russia. The Hindi music industry churns out hits that survive from Friday to Friday but stay alive on our ring tones and dialler tones. In this backdrop Bollywood truly overshadows regional cinema.
A good film will get due recognition and accolades and will probably be dubbed or screened with subtitles in other languages. All in all, each has its own place and audience. They cannot be adversaries but must complement each other to entertain us and bring forth socially relevant messages as and when necessary. Yenjoy!