It’s not only you and I, who are diehard fans of Hindi movies. There are fans spread throughout the globe. There are people in Africa who love watching Hindi movies without subtitles, in spite of not knowing the language. Most of the population abroad, who love Hindi movies, are surprisingly not Indians (apart from the US and UK). A large portion of the overseas audience of Hindi movies is not aware of our language and culture, yet, are avid watchers of these movies.
Here is a list of five countries who simply love watching our movies:
Could you have ever imagined? Yes, Nigeria, especially the abode of the Muslim population of this African country, loves watching Bollywood movies. The strangest part? There has never been any Indian immigrant there. They have been watching Bollywood movies since the 1960s and one of their favourite is Mother India. This iconic movie has been watched and re-watched by most of the people there and they have by-hearted the songs too. The Nigerians feel that Indian culture in terms of class divisions, status of women, poverty, colonized by the English, are very close to that of Nigeria. However, the Nigerian audience still prefer the earlier movies than the recent ones since they feel Hindi movies have lost their special flavour by trying to match up to Hollywood.
Hindi movies were very popular in Egypt in the 1980s. The Bollywood industry flourished and there were takers of our kind of song-and-dance extravaganza there too. But, the local film industry of Egypt was facing poor revenues due to these Bollywood movies that were shown there. This is why the Egyptian government was forced to stop the screening of Indian movies. After that, Bollywood slowly went on to gain considerable global importance. Their annual revenue exceeded Hollywood at a time and there was increasing pressure to get Bollywood movies back on screen. Preventing them would lack the Egyptians of a powerful source of pop culture. Mind you, they were Egyptians who were fighting for the comeback of Bollywood movies. Henceforth, after 25 years, the best of Bollywood movies are now shown in Egypt.
If not our diplomats, Bollywood has done enough to form a peaceful relationship between India and China, two of the Asian giants. Well, things are not yet very favourable, yet Bollywood movies have managed to win many hearts in China. Yes, the Communist country has been melted with the song, dance and drama in true Bollywood style. Officials in China say that new age Bollywood movies have become a favourite among the Chinese and are providing stiff competition to the more technologically advanced Hollywood ones. For example, 3 Idiots is one of the most favourite films of the Chinese and has become very popular. So, can we be friends again?
The war-torn country of Afghanistan is an avid fan of ‘Hindustani movies’ (as they address our films there). Indian movies have long been an attraction there and still are among the young people. Officials can even sing Bollywood film songs without any language problem. Even now, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif and other Bollywood stars are a rage among young people. Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan still have a huge fan following there. Till the 1990s, Afghanistan has been the highest foreign grosser of Hindi movies. The Afghans now watch Hindi movies when they are showed on television and also in DVDs in Karachi or Kandahar.
Pakistan probably comes next to India when Bollywood-mania is to be considered. There is unimaginable craze among Pakistanis on Bollywood films, celebrities and music. Shah Rukh Khan has already attained the stature of a national icon there. The Pakistan Government has declared a ban on Hindi movies owing to its culture difference and financial overpowering of the local film industry. This official ban has however, done nothing to people getting more and more attracted to it. Young people also manage to watch a Bollywood film much before its release even in India. It is difficult to curb their interest in Hindi movies. You thought you were the craziest Bollywood fan? Well, you’ve just got a kin.