Home Contact Us  


Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#2734, 19 November 2008
Bollywood in Southeast Asia
Yogendra Singh
PhD Candidate, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
e-mail: yogendrajnu@gmail.com

The Indian International Film Academy, the Indian equivalent of the Oscars organized its 2008 award ceremony in Bangkok in June 2008. It is the third gala event organized in the last six years in Southeast Asia by the Indian film industry in collaboration with business and media houses. The previous two events were convened in Malaysia (2002) and Singapore (2004). This event is not just a matter of distributing awards in a foreign location, but is a clear indication of Bollywood's growing interest in Southeast Asia both as a potential market and as a favorite shooting spot in the neighborhood. Though Indian cinema has always been popular in Southeast Asia especially in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, Bollywood is increasingly poised to give a strategic leverage to India's presence in Southeast Asia.

There exists a huge potential market for the Bollywood in Southeast Asia given the large Indian Diaspora and limited production capacity of local film industries. Moreover, Indian movies are also becoming popular among the indigenous and non-Indian origin population. The popularity of Indian movies are moving beyond the Little India in Singapore and three big names of Indian cinema, popularly known as the three Khans - Shahrukh Khan, Amir Khan and Salman Khan - have been very popular in the Malay world - Malaysia and Indonesia. Telecasts of Indian movies in Indonesia have become almost a daily affair and Indian movies are also being released with the regional language sub-titles in some Southeast Asian countries.

Geographical proximity, cost-effective shooting locales and hassle-free atmosphere make Southeast Asia an attractive destination for the Bollywood. So much so that some Indian producers even prefer shooting the entire movie in various locations in Southeast Asia. Movies like Zinda, Murder, Anthony Kaun Hai have been shot entirely in Thailand and Don in Malaysia. A full-fledged Indian television channel named Vasantham has been started in Singapore and Tamil, Hindi and other Indian regional movies will be shown on this channel. Adlabs Films Ltd, an Anil Ambani group's company has formed a joint venture with Malaysian company, Lotus Five Star Cinemas, to operate a 51-megaplex chain in Malaysia to take advantage of the existing huge market for Indian movies in Malaysia.

The Indian film industry's efforts to tap opportunities in Southeast Asia have received an overwhelming response from various Southeast Asian governments. Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, has appreciated the Bollywood-led growing cultural engagement between India and Southeast Asia. Having acknowledged the importance of the Bollywood as a agent of promoting tourism, some Southeast Asian countries have taken several significant initiatives to attract the Indian film industry.

In Singapore, two agencies, the Media Development Authority (MDA) and the Singapore Tourism Board are actively involved in the promotion of Singapore's image as a global film market. The Singapore Tourism Board is also trying to promote the popularity of Singapore as a tourist spot by providing subsidy to the extent of 50 per cent to foreign film producers who plan to shoot their movies in Singapore. Indian movies too are taking advantage of these opportunities. The Hritik Roshan starrer, Krrish, is the first Indian movie, filmed in Singapore under this scheme. Singapore has since emerged as a cost-effective shooting destination for Bollywood.

Malaysia, meanwhile, is planning to build a separate film city for Bollywood to facilitate the shooting of entire movies. This project will be developed by PK Resources, a Malaysian investment company. A noteworthy point here, is that some big names of Bollywood are likely to be included in the management board of this project. The recently-held IIFA award ceremony in Bangkok was also facilitated by the tourism authority of Thailand and the federation of Thai industries.

Though the presence of Bollywood is being felt in the Southeast Asia, a major challenge in the form of pirated CDs exists in the way of tapping the Southeast Asian market in a profitable manner. Therefore, better coordination is needed at the governmental level so that the trade and distribution of pirated CDs can be prevented. Next, the Bollywood-led cultural engagement should be a two-way process. The growing influence of Bollywood and the limited capacity of indigenous movie production can generate discontent among locals and native artists and the issue could be politicized. The Malacca government's decision to confer the Datuk title to Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan was heavily criticized by indigenous Malaysian artists and the opposition parties.

India should, therefore, provide enough room for the cultural sentiments of Southeast Asian countries in its cultural diplomacy. It could opt for organizing combined and specific film festivals for Indian and Southeast Asian movies. Though Bollywood is gaining ground in the cultural arena of Southeast Asia, efforts need to be made to transform Bolllywood's soft power engagement into a well-crafted Indian policy of cultural diplomacy in Southeast Asia.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Burma and the Limits of International Influence

BIMSTEC: Need to Move Beyond the Linkage Syndrome

India-Malaysia CECA Negotiations: A Long Road Ahead

Malaysian General Elections 2008: A Move Towards Pluralistic Politics

Reopening of the Stilwell Road: At a Standstill

India-Singapore CECA Enters Second Phase

Malaysia's Ethnic Indians Demand

India's Energy Diplomacy Gets a Jolt in Myanmar

India ASEAN FTA: Problems and Prospects

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.