Indian Soft Power: Cinema

Indian Soft Power: Cinema

As someone who’s interested in pop culture and the film/television medium as tools for public diplomacy, I really enjoyed this article about Indian cinema being a contemporary “phenomenom” and a huge aspect of Indian soft power. Because of how widespread Indian movies are throughout the world, you could probably ask anyone and they’d know what Bollywood was. A reason for this is that India in fact now produces twice as many films as Hollywood. Even if you don’t ever have the inclincation to see a Bollywood film, it’s likely that you’ll still hear about it more than once. The article also points out that Indian films are shown in at least 100 markets overseas, and this has contributed to the creation and expansion of business networks, particularly between American studios and Indian studios.

It seems to be that Indian cinema could be reaching Hollywood levels when it comes to shaping global views of India. Notably, it is doing this while maintaining its uniqueness, not losing any aspects of Indian identity and culture.

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One comment

  1. Heather T · · Reply

    Hi! Thanks for sharing this article! I too am interested in the roles culture variables, such as film and television, play in galvanizing soft power for countries. I actually studied abroad in India during my undergraduate years in college, and saw firsthand the luster of the Bollywood film industry. It truly is a powerful monetary and cultural force that has given India unprecedented recognition on the international stage. I cannot help but wonder however, if the impact of the Indian film industry will galvanize the type of soft power India wants and needs to fully elevate itself from the status of a “middle power.”

    I am reminded of an article we read at the beginning of our course called “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Softest of them All?” (by: Yee-Kuang Heng) which conducted a comparative analysis of Japan and China’s soft power strategies. When discussing Japan, the article ultimately pointed out that despite extensive international recognition of Japan’s culture (i.e. fashion, Sumurai ethincs, and anime), the country has not really galvanized much soft power in the conception of the term employed by Joseph Nye. Perhaps this is the case, because culture is an autonomous phenomenon that governments have limited control over…

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