Hollywood has Siblings

Hollywood is considered the cinema centre of the world. It is glamour, wealth, power, celebrity – but it is not alone. India and Africa, too, are home to cinema power houses. Bollywood and Nollywood are both massive industries providing their countries with income and entertainment and allowing other cultures an insight into their worlds. In the age of globalisation, all three film giants have combined to create cinema hybrids, seeing a move away from dependence on western entertainment and “blurring the boundaries between the modern and the traditional, the high and low culture, and the national and the global culture” (Schaefer & Karan).

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Image source.

For Bollywood, one of the most popular examples of this cinema hybrid would be avatar. You can read the plot here.

On the surface, Avatar may look like typically Hollywood, but the Bollywood influences are ingrained. Their blue skin is based on Rama and Krisha, two Hindu deities usually depicted as blue. The storyline is heavily based on the story of Ramayana, an avatar-led offensive against foreign invaders.

The blue monkeys features in this story are also the basis for the blue avatars in the film, as is the reliance on bows and arrows. Furthermore the underlying theme throughout the whole movie is ‘seeing is believing‘, based on the Hindu concept of Darsharn.

Nollywood very similarly echos Hollywood styles and ideals but in a much more localised genre. While it does not have the latest editing or best technology, it remains the second largest film industry in the world. It is popular with Nigerian people as it resonates much more personally – while not relating to Hollywood themes of wealth and power, Nollywood represents the familiarly of Nigerian lifestyle and colloquial language.

That being said, the movie ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ showcases the success of Hollywood-Nollywood Hybrids.

80% of this film was funded by Nigeria with a massive $10 million budget. It is based on the novel written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and converted to cinema in 2013. It follows the story of Nigerian sisters as civil war breaks out and they fight for an independent republic. Clearly the story line is very much a Nigerian story, as are the actors, writers and production, and it allowed a wider audience to connect with Nigerian culture – appealing to Western audiences just as much as an African audience.

Hollywood has long been very much associated with cinema and the big screen, but Bollywood and Nollywood continue to prosper and resonate with audiences world wide as hybrids of the siblings are produced, allowing cultural appreciate to flourish and seeing a reduction of Western imperialism in cinema.


Okome, O, 2007, ‘Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption’, Post Colonial Text, vol. 3, no. 2, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/260030/mod_resource/content/1/Week4_Okome.pdf> Accessed: 23 August 2014

Schaefer, D. J., Karan, K 2010. ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’ Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 309-316


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