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How Bollywood helped build Brand India

Last updated on: January 9, 2011 14:29 IST

How Bollywood helped build Brand India

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"The Dari version of Indian sitcom Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thhi is so popular in Afghanistan that at 8.30 pm there, all activities come to a halt. Rough statistics suggest that 92 per cent Afghani families stop doing whatever they are doing to watch this serial. That shows you how popular the Indian way of life really is," Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor told the audience at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on Saturday.

Tharoor was speaking at a discussion titled 'Branding the Global Indian' organised as a part of the ongoing ninth edition of the PBD. Two authors, two well known film makers and a banker discussed how the world has started viewing India in the recent past.

Tharoor said that India and Indians have taken a huge leap from their tight-rope-walking- image to being perceived as a well educated lot.

Reportage: Sahim Salim


Image: Shashi Tharoor
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'Bollywood has been instrumental in closing the gap'

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"Today, an Indian is known as a mathematical whiz or a computer genius. Bollywood has been instrumental in closing the gap between Indians and the western world. Bollywood brings India's glitz and glory not only to the Indian Diaspora, but also to other nationalities," Tharoor said.

Bollywood film-maker Priyadarshan echoed similar sentiments.

"It is the overseas Indians who have made Bollywood so famous among other nationalities. The only reason Bollywood is second to Hollywood is because in Bollywood, we make films going by our gut-feeling, while in Hollywood, it is about discipline. Plus, the distribution techniques of Hollywood are more superior. Fox and Disney have come to India. If we can have that kind of distribution, Bollywood also will not lag very far behind when it comes to popularity," Priyadarshan, who has made 81 movies till date, said.


Image: Film makers Priyadarshan and Mira Nair
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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'A Punjabi family's life had a global audience'

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Film maker Mira Nair said that her films show her quest of the "so called global Indian."

"There are no global Indians really. There are Indians with an amazing range of diversity," Nair said.

Speaking about Monsoon Wedding, Nair said that she wanted to make a film on a 'noisy' Punjabi family, but ended up making a film that was a global success.

"Monsoon Wedding went on to become the highest grossing foreign film of all time. People from Hungary and Iceland related to the noisiness of this Punjabi family; a Punjabi family's life had a global audience. Now, I am working on a Broadway version of the film," Nair said.

Kanwar Vijay Singh, a novelist and film maker based in Paris, said that when he was a journalist in France in the 1980s, even a Hindu-Muslim riot did not find mention in the press there.

"I worked with Le Duc Tho (the only person to have declined a Nobel Prize) for his publication, which was one of the best. When I told him about a riot in India, which had killed 80 people, his reaction was 'when it comes to India, we only start at 400'. That was how India used to be viewed. Today, it makes headlines when one Indian gets bashed up in Australia. That is how far Indians have come, that is how the brand called Global Indian has become," Singh said.


Image: Kanwar Vijay Singh and Priyadarshan
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
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