Cultural appropriation and… Bollywood?

Movies, what are they? Well according to a movie is “A recorded sequence of film or video images displayed on a screen with sufficient rapidity as to create the illusion of motion and continuity.” Of course, the purpose of a movie is to entertain. Entertain can mean many things though. Movies can make us feel emotions that are both good and bad, like excitement or sorrow for example. They can immerse us in a world completely different from ours or very similar to our own.

With all of that said, lets talk about transitional films. What are transitional films? Let’s define transitional first. Transitional is defined as a cultural phenomena that does not fit inside one nation. So, with that said, transitional films are basically films that cannot be as easily defined as other films. They don’t necessarily belong to a single nation. Is there an example of a film industry that makes these transitional films? Yes, there is actually. It’s called Bollywood.

Bollywood is essentially India’s version of Hollywood if you couldn’t already tell. The term Bollywood is used to describe Hindi films that were made in mumbai that adopt Hollywood elements. Bollywood isn’t a pushover industry either. Believe it or not Bollywood films are multi billion dollar productions with the most expensive productions costing around 20 million US dollars.
With all of that in mind, there’s a huge debate going on about Bollywood. The debate is centered around cultural appropriation. What is cultural appropriation? Essentially using elements of a culture that you don’t belong to. The main question that comes to mind when it comes to this topic is, is it honoring another culture or is it cultural theft? Now, one thing to consider is that you can use elements from another culture and respect it. It’s not impossible. Using elements of another culture and completely disregarding it’s origins, now that’s cultural theft.


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