Monday 15 September 2008

Bollywood: time to invest in cross-over products?

In "Bollywood duets with the west", Joe Leahy writes in the Financial Times about the increasingly serious flirtation between Indian films and music on the one hand and the lucrative Western market on the other. Although the Indian diaspora in the West is sizeable, there is doubt as to whether it alone can provide and sustain a sufficient commercial incentive for the large-scale mainline exploitation of rights in those works. This article asks, however, whether the Indian product may, at least in part, prove attractive to Western audiences in its own right, being a refreshingly colourful and escapist alternative to the slick, narrative-oriented productions that hail from US studios.

The prospect of mining a fresh stream of IP in India and sending it west is tantalising. But questions of money arise. How much does one invest in effectively untried entertainment products? And how great is the scope for the development of 'cross-over' products which seek to blend the Indian genre with non-Indian elements of music, plot, dress or location?

The article mentions that Reliance Big Entertainment is currently working with Hollywood director Steven Spielberg on a joint venture, with initial funding of $500m (£285m); other projects are cited too. Other projects may follow, depending on the real or apparent success of the pioneers.

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