Hindi cinema has long been recognised globally as one of the most popular major providers of movies, eventually earning the nickname ‘Bollywood’ to liken the once-Bombay-based industry to Hollywood. Now, new opportunities are opening up to Bollywood, with the digital sophistication of India becoming mainstream and media entertainment in the country expected to surge by 13.9 per cent to become a $37.6 billion sector last year.
There’s so much money being funnelled into the Hindi movie industry these days, and a great deal of this comes down to the embrace of the internet and linked technologies. Just as finance has gone digital, even though Hindi cinema craves people attending theatres, becoming more accessible and branching out the offering directly and indirectly all raise the reach and value of the industry. As a result, Bollywood was expected to reap around $4.5 billion by last year, which will only continue to grow if it keeps growing as a recognisable brand, of sorts, online.
Bringing little bits of Bollywood to the user
From 2000 to 2019, the global tourism industry generally enjoyed year-on-year growth, but lost a predicted $1 billion in 2020. Even with this dip, people managed to travel the world thanks to the rise of virtual tours. By utilising camera and internet technology, businesses crafted interactive videos, 360-degree software, and live streams to allow tourists to explore the other side of the world from their own homes. Even though Bollywood isn’t exactly designed to be a tourist hotspot, like Hollywood studio tours, people are more than happy to explore the places where the movies are made.
Put out by Viator, Bollywood created its own virtual tour to access online. The Interactive Virtual Bollywood Tour ran for 60 minutes, giving an inside look at Bollywood through a personal guide. Along the tour, you’d get a presentation on the century-long history of cinema in India, visits to studios, and a look into the importance of song and dance in Bollywood movies.
Hindi flicks are so well-known for their singing and dancing that musical set pieces are synonymous with the industry. So, it won’t come as a surprise that you can take Bollywood dance classes online. Meeting at Pineapple in Covent Garden, London, you can also live stream the dance classes while they’re happening in the studio. Both of these live online offerings enhance the reach of Bollywood, granting more access and insight into the iconic film-making industry.
Bollywood on demand
In a sense, Bollywood is becoming a brand of its own, even though it’s a catch-all term for the Hindi movie industry based in Mumbai. Still, when people see the term, they think of a very distinct aesthetic, entertainment, and theme. It’s because of these that the online live casino has become the home of one of the latest non-film Bollywood products. Live Bollywood Roulette and Live Bollywood Blackjack offer real-time play of the two classic table games in a distinctly Hindi movie setting. Aimed at increasing the platform’s appeal in India and other markets where the films are popular, the roulette and blackjack games reflect the demand for the Bollywood experience.
Of course, the main ways that Bollywood is expanding its reach online is by putting its soundtracks and flicks onto cost-effective and easily accessed online platforms. The music used in popular Bollywood films can be just as catchy, popular, and inspirational as the movies themselves. Thus, there’s a huge range of radio stations that specialise in Bollywood tracks that can all be tuned into from web-based radio platforms. Radio City 91.1 FM, Radio Retro Bollywood, Hits of Bollywood, and Club Mirchi Radio can all be listened to at the click of a mouse or tap of a screen.
For watching the movies, though, Hotstar has positioned itself as the best place to quickly and easily watch Bollywood, with the online streaming site hosting hundreds of Hindi films – as well as stacks of Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Malayalam flicks. The cinema continues to be the best way to watch the latest releases, but there might begin to be a greater swing towards the convenience of movies on demand, especially as the market share of Smart TVs has surged across India.
Bollywood is clearly moving with the times, recognising the draw of its creations and embracing the reach of the internet to continue to expand its audience.