The Monsoon Crush: A critical analysis of the commercialisation of the Indian Art Film under the influence of social and demographic changes stemming from globalisation
Dr Dennis Hanlon
Indian cinema of fiction has always had two very distinct fields – that of art films and of commercial films. Traditionally, mass audiences at single theatres across the nation have been the primary patrons of commercial films and art films, outside film festivals, have found a small elitist audience at screenings at niche urban theatres.
The onset of globalisation, post economic liberalisation in India, has led to the advent of the multiplex in India, which has over the past two decades forced many single theatres into closure and continues to do so. This has resulted in a shrinking of the audience into an elitist urbanised cohort who are looking for ‘intelligent’ films, often formulated around contemporary socio-political issues. This seeking, in addition to the similar tastes of a growing audience abroad including and beyond diaspora, has resulted in a cinema artistic in taste, but commercial in presentation. My research tracks this phenomenon in Hindi cinema and into the realms of regional cinemas, the industries of some being similar in proportion to the prolific filmmaking of ‘Bollywood’.