Millions of people in the world can not stay indifferent to Indian films. Even Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited one of the largest Bollywood studios during his visit to India in December. Yashraj Studio presented one of the latest Russian-Indian projects to Medvedev - The Hindu TV series.
Bollywood used to make up to 1,000 films a year, which was twice as much as the production of America's Hollywood. The economic crisis affected the production of Indian films: foreign investments in Indian studios dropped, the demand among the local population reduced considerably. Common Indians could not afford either cinema tickets or DVDs.
Internal conflicts occur at Indian film studios on a regular basis too. For example, Bollywood film producers went on a two-month strike in the summer of 2010 after they failed to find a common language with cinema owners regarding the profit share in film distribution.
Indian cinematography is contradictory, like all modern art. On the one hand, it is a carrier of ancient and rich culture of India. On the other hand, it is just a layer of mass culture, which irritates many. Indian films played a positive role at this point, though. Soviet people did not have a possibility to watch Western films during the 70s and 80s, but they could watch Bollywood copies of those films - with dancing, singing and brunette beauties. As for plots or fight scenes - they were completely copied from American films.
Indian actor, director and producer Raj Kapoor was extremely popular in the Soviet Union. He is still remembered in his native land. When a local citizen was meeting the Russian president, he tried to impress Mr. Medvedev with Kapoor's dance steps.
Mithun Chakraborty was hugely popular in India during the 1980s. "Disco Dancer" musical drama, in which Chakraborty played Jimmy, remains a cult favorite to this day. The film was hugely successful - it became popular even among those who always said that they could not stand the sound of Indian songs. It was "Disco Dancer" and Chakraborty that made many change their negative attitude to India forever.
Indian films used to satisfy the needs of mass viewers, as it happens with numerous TV series nowadays. For Soviet people, especially women, Bollywood was already ready to give passion, love, beautiful outfits and snow-white palaces.