Over the weekend, I stumbled upon Speakeasy, a newish blog from the editors of The Wall Street Journal. It covers off-business subjects such as art and film. One of the posts that caught my eye: “Panting After Slumdog.” The grimace-inducing headline notwithstanding, the post talks about how some companies are looking to cash in on the “Slumdog Millionaire” craze by offering the latest Bollywood flicks in theaters across the U.S., thanks to big, fat broadband pipes! BIG, run by Adlabs Films (which is part of the Reliance ADA Group, a conglomerate), is working on building a chain of movie theaters that would show the latest Bollywood flicks. And because Reliance owns a global fiber network (FLAG Telecom) and a metro network provider (Yipes), it can provide connectivity on the cheap and deliver new movies to the U.S. instantly. Because of that, the company can offer a same-time experience for many of the Indian films.
The company recently launched a theater in Chicago and plans to follow up with fiber-connected theaters in New York, D.C., Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles (though not San Francisco or Houston — two cities where there is a substantial South Asian population). What’s next? How about broadcasting cricket matches directly to multiplexes.
Eventually, BIG plans to air cricket matches as well, (Adlabs CEO Anil) Arjun said. Undersea fiber optic cables operated by BIG’s sister company, Reliance Communications, allow for a near-instant transmission (it takes about four and a half hours to wire a movie from Mumbai to New York — perhaps less time than it takes to watch a full Bollywood epic).
Of course, you can (or will soon) get Bollywood fare via digital distribution channels such as iTunes and Hulu. Back in 2005 something like this seemed like a far-fetched theory. Today, it seems so obvious!
9 thoughts on “Of Bollywood, Cricket and Broadband”
It’s interesting, but Bollywood doesn’t make movies of global appeal, let alone to The USA. The Americans did all these kind of movies Bollywood has been trying before, for decades, they invented them, and not on shoestring budgets by unknown off-the-street nonprofessionals, either. No one outside of India really watches Bollywood. India isn’t exactly anyones idea of a cinematic tourist destination. India is considered globally a place you sell companies and products to that are no longer profitable and bankable. Without cable and fibre telephony, India would pretty well be a forgotten write-off.
And, truthfully, do we all really want another Hollywood? Isn’t one enough? For what purpose, when people no longer go to movies the way they did over a generation ago? Even The British have forgotten cricket.
agreed bollywood does not have much appeal beyond indians worldwide. (leave out Slumdog – an aberration) ……though i have heard things marginally change a bit in Europe where movie halls have 10% natives and dance bars playing bollywood stuff with gusto.
cricket is dead? you must be smoking stuff. more countries play the game than any games in USA — or how about “World Series(?!!!)” baseball —–played only in USA?? (ha ha ha)
i think Reliance BIG is not going to make much money (unless the whole setup itself is not going to cost much). Definitely bollywood is too presumptous. this is going to be just another service, not even mainstream even with the Indians here.
India is a “place you sell companies and products to that are no longer profitable and bankable”???
Maybe true maybe not. It is a fact that India does not produce anything that says “This world class product or service:Only from India” or “India is #1 hands down in such and such”
Yet to hear it.
Till that happens. comments like this is gonna happen.
BTW Artruro —- remember. the chinese own USA’s ass right now
It’s about time!
IPL on a giant screen in the bay area.. Nothing would beat that !!
I meant T20 World Cup. 🙂
Bollywood’s core audience is indeed South Asians but it is far from limited to that audience. The appeal of Bollywood is global as the films are distributed in 124 countries and translates into multiple languages. The themes (sometimes religious…islam in particular) and family values appeal to other countries in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribean who share similar sensibilities to India.
There is global appeal…not as much Western appeal…maybe time to see the world outside of your own prism for a change.
Artruro — The statements — “ It’s interesting, but Bollywood doesn’t make movies of global appeal, let alone to The USA” – “No one outside of India really watches Bollywood” – are not borne out by the facts. You are right in that Bollywood is not mainstream in the US and Western Europe (Barring UK given the large South Asian diaspora) —
But in the vast world outside these two regions, specifically in Russia, Africa, Middle East & Far East (Indonesia, Malaysia etc) Bollywood movies are and have been popular for many decades. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bollywood )
bollywood,and in some respect,India does not care what the west thinks or cares,They have done their own thing and will continue to do their own thing.They really don’t care if you or the “sophisticated west” watches their movies;they have one billion pairs of eyes already.
My first “Bollywood” film was Lagaan and I was hooked. I live in the Western world and never heard of Bollywood before seeing that film and I can attest that many quality films do come out of India and if some are not the greatest they are entertaining and fun to watch..The purist attitude that only Hollywood can make a good film is ridiculous! I have walked out of many USA films.