Brimful dreams…

Omnipresent. Omnipresent is a beautiful word and is aptly used as an adjective for God. In India too, God is Omnipresent, but in a more literal way… There are 330 Million gods and goddesses in India. Let me say that again… There are 330 Million Gods & Goddesses in India. One of the jokes doing the rounds during my childhood was that the reason behind India having as many Gods & Goddesses is that the country is functioning on the blessings of them since politician only politicize, don’t act. 🙂 This was just the prelude for the real story…

 

Act. The first thing that would come to any Indian’s mind when he/she thinks of acting is ‘Bollywood’ (cue: drumroll and a small wave in celebration)… The favorite pastime of any Indian (age: No Bar) is watching movies… PwC estimated Bollywood’s annual turnover to grow to $ 4 Billion by 2011 from $1.8 in 2006. Some 6 Million families’ daily bread & butter (and caviar for the selected few) comes from this Industry… It’s called the dreamworld… An average Indian who is beaten by the lashes of Inflation, poor Infrastructure, and daily travails of an uninteresting job goes to a theater or one of those multiplexes and watches a flick in which:

The hero has humble beginnings and goes on to make in big in 20 minutes flat… of course a comely lass in skimpy clothes is also involved  to complete the dream and couple of songs to dance around the tree… (oops, almost forgot that sizzling rain/smooch scene)… all this adds up to fuel a fantasy that the ‘average’ Indian carries on with for a couple of days after which there is another Friday, another movie, another dream… and guess what… they are cheap at Rs 150 ($ 3.52) a piece…

Ofcourse everyone loves the actresses… one of my friend told me once that he abhorred actresses… His explanation was that somebody who acts (OR in case of certain actresses look pretty, show some oomph, and keep quiet except for ooh’s and aah’s when the hero beats up on the villain) for 3 hours, dances, and does pretty much everything for Rs 100 is not worth it… (I know, he knows, that he is full of Shit… if he had an option he’d probably be down on his knees before she flutters her eye lashes… Lets not get into the Freudian theory…)

Bollywood finds it’s almost religious fan following amid the lower class. 20% of the Indian population lives below the poverty line…

One of the benefits of the place where I work being situated on one such place is that I run into beggars quite often (the benefit being that comely lasses dash to and fro at regular intervals)… I am recounting my encounter with a beggar (who could not have been a day over 10 years) asking Rs.10… Now having more than half a cup of tea yet to go and no one around to gawk at I engaged in a conversation asking him what he’d do with it… The reply was prompt… I want to watch ‘Om Shanti Om’… To which the first question that propped up and out from me was… Don’t you want to eat/bath/have tea?… If the earlier answer has amazed me, this one downrightly shocked me… He said, ‘I will worry about the dinner later, first I want to go and watch that song… Dard-e-disco”…  This is the kind of craze that Bollywood has in India…

[Background: While I talked about an average movie costing Rs. 150 there are Movie halls which run Matinee shows for as low at Rs. 10…]

Any self-respecting professor teaching at a B-School will tell you that ‘numbers always tell the story…’ Let’s look at some interesting statistics…

  1. Global Audience – Global Audience for Indian movies – 3.6 Billion (Hollywood has 2.6 Billion)
  2. Overall size of Indian movie industry – $ 1.8 billion (2006)
  3. 97% of urban youth prefer to watch movies at multiplexes
  4. 75% of non-urban youth prefer to watch movies at home
  5. Revenue from box office – 84%
  6. 65% of the box office collections come from non-metros.
  7. Home video share of overall movie market – 8%
  8. 13% of TV revenue is from film content.
  9. Bollywood movie tickets sold (2006) – 3.7 billion
  10. Hindi movies account for 20% of movies made in India
  11. Tamil & Telugu movies account for 40% of movies made in India
  12. Total number of Multiplexes – 480
  13. Multiplexes account for 10% of screens
  14. Multiplexes account for 37% of theatrical revenue because of higher ticket prices

After looking at the numbers it is apparent that the film industry forms a major part of the media and entertainment industry (currently pegged at $11 Billion) as a whole… and while some might hate Bollywood for what it is… (dull, repetitive, corny, copied from someone else) but it is what it is… a dream industry… the hero never fails… the story always ends with the hero and the heroine living happily ever after… [Dreaming…]

Is this the right way to end this post or would you have preferred something like… “Watch a Movie Today“…?

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