Bollywood confusing term for global audience: Indian filmmakers

Abu Dhabi, Oct 28 (IANS) It is a never-ending debate - the viability of the term 'Bollywood' vis-a-vis 'Indian cinema'. 'Bollywood' does not encompass 'Indian cinema' in entirety, said veteran filmmakers like M.S. Sathyu and Jahnu Barua.

"A Manipuri film is also Indian cinema," said Barua, a multiple National Award-winning filmmaker from Assam, at the ongoing Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF).

"This term Bollywood is confusing. It causes a lot of confusion for the global film audience. Why can't we just say Hindi cinema or Assamese cinema and so on ... so that the whole world comes to know that Indian cinema is more than Hindi cinema," he added.

Narrating a past incident to IANS here, Barua said: "Once I was showing my film in Pusan (South Korea) and I see a group of almost 40 school girls, who had come in to watch my film. I was surprised and intrigued.

"So I found out that one of those girls had once watched Shah Rukh Khan in a Hindi film, and she brought them all to watch an Indian film, thinking it will be a big film starring Shah Rukh and will have songs, dances, huge sets. But it wasn't so. That's confusing for the world."

In fact, for Bollywood itself, the term is confusing, he feels.

"The term Bollywood comes from Hollywood, but Bollywood has nothing to do with Hollywood. So why compare it with a dominating filmmaking industry? Why base it on something which is already established. We must concentrate on building our own identity," said Barua, who often speaks his mind about roadblocks in the growth of regional cinema.

Bollywood essentially refers to the cinema coming out of Bombay (now Mumbai). Subsequently, terms like Tollywood (Tamil), Mollywood (Malayalam) and Ollywood (Oriya) emerged.

Sathyu, a Padmi Shri recipient, is aghast with a term like Sandalwood for the Kannada film industry, which is close to his heart.

"It stinks," he exclaimed

"We have just copied the word. The Kannada film industry is being called Sandalwood. Why? What does it mean," he added.

The filmmakers, along with "Qissa" director Anup Singh and Meenu Gaur, an Indian who has co-directed Pakistani film "Zinda Bhaag", mulled over the matter during a discussion dedicated to "Studying the past to define the future", which was held here as part of the 'Celebrating Indian Cinema' special programme.

For Gaur, the term Bollywood has "more to do with the paraphernalia" surrounding films.

"The stars, the fashion, the style and the parties... I think films is only a small mark of it. Also, I feel the term itself now means something different than what it perhaps meant say 10 to 20 years ago," she said.

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