There was a time when the audience for Hollywood films and Bollywood films was markedly different. But it is no longer so. Over the years, not only has the difference been diminishing, but today a Holly film has to compete with a Bolly film to find an audience and vice versa. A Baahubali 2, which is the biggest film releasing this month has to contend with competition from the eighth installment of the hit Holly franchise — Fate Of The Furious, that also hits screens in April. In fact, according to trade sources, in the year 2016 that boasted two of the biggest blockbusters in the industry — one was Dangal that was the highest grosser with Rs 380 crore and the other was the Hollywood film The Jungle Book. Says Akshaye Rathi, film exhibitor, “The kind of diversity that exists in India is an easy indicator of the audience we have. We are a nation of 1.3 billion. We are one of the highest speaking English populations in the world. At the same time we have so many regional languages, with Hindi having a widespread presence. This cultural diversity doesn’t exist in any other nation. This kind of demographic and psychographic gives a great scope for not only Hollywood and Bollywood movies, but also for Iranian, Chinese, Russian, Telugu, Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Tamil cinema. There is scope for all sorts of entertainment —commercial and art,” he says.
Talking about The Jungle Book doing extremely well in India, Akshaye says that Holly films have better quality content as of now, but things are changing in Bollywood, too. “Looking at them, we are improving our quality.
Filmmakers are upping their game because the audiences are the same. Those who will be watching Furious 8 will also be seeing Tubelight or a Golmaal Again or 2.0. The more the audience is exposed, the more the quality of our films will get better, which is happening. If you look at the scale, production and quality of the films in the ’90s and now, we have improved by leaps and bounds. I am glad both Hollywood and Bollywood exist in the market and compete seriously. Therefore both have to do a great job to get takers,” he signs off.