The 'Bollywoodization' of Popular Indian Visual Culture: A Critical Perspective

  • Keval Joseph Kumar Mudra Institute of Communications Ahmedabad (MICA)
Keywords: Indian Culture, Bollywood, Visual Culture, Hegemony, Visual style, Indian Cinema Industry, Indian Television, Indian Advertising.


The roots of popular visual culture of contemporary India can be traced to the  mythological films which D. G. Phalke provided audiences during the decades of the ‘silent’ era (1912-1934).  The ‘talkies era of the 1930s ushered in the ‘singing’ /musical genre which together with Phalke’s visual style, remains the hallmark of Bollywood cinema. The history of Indian cinema is replete with films made in other genres and styles (e.g. social realism, satires, comedies, fantasy, horror, stunt) in the numerous languages of the country; however, it’s the popular Hindi cinema (now generally termed ‘Bollywood’) that has dominated national Indian cinema and its audiovisual culture and hegemonized the entire film industry as well as other popular technology-based art forms including the press, radio, television,  music, advertising, the worldwide web,  the social media, and telecommunications media. The form and substance of these modern art forms, while adapting to the demands of the new media technologies, continued to be rooted in the visual arts and practices of folk and classical traditions of earlier times.

Special Issue: Critical Visual Theory