Amitabh Bachchan is quoted as saying in the Times of India:
India’s economic progress is largely responsible for the Indian films getting recognised abroad. When the economy is doing well, everything connected with the country, its food, culture, colour, art and films get noticed.
I have a question: Are Indian films getting “recognised abroad?” To the best of my admittedly minuscule knowledge, only the diaspora really cares much for it, and as the diaspora has grown, overseas markets have become prominent. But non-Indians don’t really notice it, and the stories that the international press occasionally does on Bollywood treat it as exotica.
I have another question: Why do Bollywood people crave recognition abroad? Are the millions of Indian who watch their films not validation enough?
Update: DeCruz Pulikottil writes in:
I would have never expected to have been greeted by an African man inside a Costco (huge wholesale store) and asked if I was Indian. When I said yes, he had a broad smile on his face and asked if I like Bollywood movies. Apparently, Bollywood movies are all the rage in Africa. If you google online for Romanian Bollywood dance troupe you’ll find a group of all Romanians who pick up their dance moves from Bollywood movies who dance at weddings and other functions. Bollywood is insanely popular in Eastern Europe. My Cambodian friend tells me how back in the home country, they consistently watch Bollywood movies that do show. Even here, at a private university in Southern California that has one other Indian person that attends here, I popped in a Bollywood movie (Rang de Basanti) and many white people enjoyed it. So yeah, I’m answering your question. Bollywood is becoming immensely popular overseas and not just among the diaspora.
Hmm. And when I was in Singapore a millennium ago for a conference, a local girl sidled up to me and said, “I like Shah Rukh Khan .” Then she fluttered her eyelashes. Ever the naive nerd, I had no idea why she was telling me that. I think I said something to the effect of “Pah!” And then I toodled off to look for a bookshop.