Kolkata, Feb 26: Indian cinema is a “long way” away from conquering mainstream markets and British film-goers are “unlikely” to accept Bollywood as an alternative to Hollywood, British film scholar Geoffrey Nowell-Smith has said.
He also pointed out that non-conventional Indian films are inconspicuous in Britain.
“Indian cinema is a long way from conquering mainstream…Indian films are rarely reviewed or advertised in the national press (in Britain),” he said during an interactive session at the British Council here Tuesday.
“It is unlikely that British film going public at large will ever embrace popular Indian cinema as an alternative to Hollywood. It is also unlikely that the audience of filmmakers like Satyajit Ray will ever be much different from audiences of Orson Welles or other historic giants of world cinema,” he said.
He observed Bollywood films are on a high in Britain for the time being and are mainly seen by non-resident Indians, people from Pakistan and the Arab world and a “sprinkling” of Europeans.
“Indian cinema in Britain is booming at the moment…and its not cheap (the tickets)…the kind of Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood is no longer working-class fare, either in content or in audience composition…but this popularity is deceptive,” Nowell-Smith said here.
In contrast to the wider presence of Bollywood cinema in Britain, he noted that “Indian cinema that is not Bollywood is barely visible”.
The encouraging fact from a multicultural view is that Indian cinema of all types are being taken “seriously” in universities as part of curriculum, that include predominantly American or European films, he said.
“One other thing that is certain, Indian diaspora is not going to lose that part of its identity that comes from watching and enjoying Indian films. What we can hope for is the mainstreaming of Indian cinema in the multicultural British life,” he added.