Bollywood and Youth

In Planet Bollywood, Desai discussed about how Bollywood movies have shifter over time and how it affect its audience especially to the second and third generation South Asian Americans. In the very beginning of the article we learned that Bollywood has now becoming more and more popular, there are even several of them which exceeds several Hollywood films. As it is gaining wider audience views, Bollywood has become more influential in youth and adults. 

According to Desai, Bollywood films have become a way for NRIs to learn about Indian culture and it is also a way for the youth to learn about the culture. However, in the very beginning, Bollywood was unpopular in the west due to its movie structure which contains too much dancing and singing. Desai talked about it was rather an unpleasant experience for the youth to watch Bollywood films because it was really different from the Hollywood film. In addition, NRIs in Bollywood films were often depicted as Indians who forgot about their roots and culture.  Those characters in Bollywood films can be seen as a projection of ideal Indian men and women, we often see how smart or how passionate these characters can be in Bollywood romance movies. But in the late 1980s, it does not gain popularity , not until late 1990s.

For South Asian American youth, Bollywood has become a topic that helps them to connect to their peers, as Desaj mentioned in the article. They learned about their roots and identity through these films, several of them even decided to join some related clubs in college. As time passes, the depiction of NRI characters in Bollywood have also shifted from ignorant brainwashed to characters who embrace both culture and appreciate their new identity. I find this part interesting because it seems like every ethnic group has its own way to educate their youth who happen to live in a different country. For example, we have Bollywood films to teach South Asian Americans the way Indians live while Chinese have set up Chinese school in America to teach their youth about the beauty of their characters and literature. Bollywood has become more than an entertainment for the general public, it serves as a way to educate youth and as a way for Indian adults to appreciate the difference among different religious groups as Desaj pointed out in the article.




2 thoughts on “Bollywood and Youth

  1. While reading Desai’s article, I couldn’t help but notice a correlation with the analysis of pop culture presented by George Lipsitz. At best, Bollywood films and Indian cinema seem to exemplify the impact and function associated with media driven art forms and production. It is described that on the surface, Bollywood cinema contains links to the memories of the past as well as a gateway to the ancestral homeland for the diaspora. Desai directly asserts one of Lipsitz’s main points when she states that the films are “transnational commodities”, designed for passive, nostalgic consumers who “homogeneously desire one vision of India.”

    In a further examination of the influences of Bollywood films, we see the identity of the South Asian American in flux and in the process of participation in the production and consumption of its own culture. And in turn, this process is responsible for the shaping of the South Asian American identity, again, another cultural diaspora occupying a duality and at the same time existing as something entirely unique, which Desai asserts a need for more profound exploration and interpretation.

  2. While reading Jigna Desai’s the thought of liminality kept recurring to me. As we’ve stated numerous times, the consumption of media is mostly attributed to the youth generation, often now a second or third generation originating from diasporic ancestors. Desai gives an example from American Desi, of being a “coconut” – physically brown on the outside, but with White culture on the inside, which is an apt term that I personally feel applies to much of our generation. Bollywood and its consequent effects in music, fashion, and food, are a mode by which such youth are able to learn about their Diaspora identities, whilst living submerged in a comparatively more prevalent and influential American, white culture. In the 90’s the purpose of Bollywood films posed both as a nostalgic tribute to the Diaspora and a warning of Westernization. And often times, the stereotypical, assimilating immigrant – the NRI – was the foil to the diasporic Asian American who remained true to their traditional values and sheltered hope of returning one day.
    However, this view has transformed: rather than reflecting fears of assimilation, Bollywood films reflect the possibility of acculturation. In recent times, diasporic markets have evolved from viewing the West as a place of contamination and stifling, but rather as a place where South Asian culture can exist and is able to coincide. Such an evolution allows for the creation of an entirely new culture, one without the stereotypes of either identity’s perception of one another and one that is wholly “Asian American”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s