Saturday, June 21, 2008

India's Bid to Extend its Cultural Dominance


What is the secret of world domination by the English-speaking nations like the United States and Great Britain over the last two or three centuries? Is it their leading role during the industrial revolution? Is it their embrace of democracy and capitalism? Is it their wealth? or military power? or technology? It is probably all of the above. But, more than anything else, it seems that this phenomenon is rooted in the cultural domination of the world by the English-speaking nations. Taking a leaf from this playbook, the Indians are aiming at similar cultural domination of the world through media and entertainment. The size of India's domestic market, its new found wealth and the current wave of globalization sweeping the world clearly favor India in its quest.


Anil Ambani, the Indian billionaire, is putting up between $500 million and $600 million to back famous Hollywood director Steven Spielberg and his team at DreamWorks as they leave Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While Anil Ambani, married to a former Bollywood actress Tina Munim, has clearly shown great interest in the Indian film world for a while, his global ambition to build a major international media and entertainment empire is just beginning to emerge.

Ambani's company, Reliance Big Entertainment, said last month that it would finance movies by production houses connected to George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and others. It also said it plans to spend more than $1 billion in the next 18 months to expand its entertainment empire. Reliance is not the only Indian company pursuing deals in Hollywood. Similar deals are being made by UTV Motion Pictures, which co-financed current U.S. box-office hit "The Happening" directed by Oscar-winning Indian-American Manoj Night Shyamalan. And a similar joint effort is underway between Disney and Yash Raj Films in producing an animated film "Roadside Romeo" for the Indian audience. Disney is also an investor in UTV.

The history of outside investors, including foreign companies, trying to profit from Hollywood is long, with few notable successes. The 1980s saw a flood of Japanese investors, followed in the 1990s by Germans. The Indians, however, are different. Bollywood film revenues totaled $2.5 billion last year, less than one-tenth the total made by Hollywood films, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. But film revenue in India has been growing at about 17% a year for the past three years, while growth in the U.S. has been less than 3%. Emerging markets in general have outpaced the U.S. and most other developed markets: Annual movie revenues have climbed more than 6% in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America in the same period, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Besides the Hollywood deals, Ambani is launching 20 TV channels and owns FM stations in India. Anil Ambani's plans appear to be highly ambitious and may partly be driven by the sibling rivalry between Anil and Mukesh. Currently, Mukesh is ranked a notch higher on the Forbes billionaires list.

The opportunities for growth in Bollywood are attracting successful, Silicon Valley based Indian-American entrepreneurs such as Raj Singh and Kanwal Rekhi to invest in Indian movies with broad, international appeal.

Beyond the big Indian investors, other Indian cultural organizations such as the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has established 20 cultural centers (and two sub-centers) worldwide. Of these, Southeast Asia has only two centers (Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur) and one sub-centre (Bali), according to India Post.

According to a recent piece written by Pranav Kumar of Jawahar Lal University, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), founded by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has established 20 cultural centers (and two sub-centers) worldwide. Of these, Southeast Asia has only two centers (Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur) and one sub-centre (Bali).

These centers organize performances of dance, drama, and music, essay competitions, lectures, photo exhibitions, and so on. They also conduct classes for yoga, Indian music and Hindi language. However, with the increasing importance of Southeast Asia in India's foreign policy, there are plans to open more centers in the region. Educational assistance forms another important element in India's cultural diplomacy, offering Southeast Asians opportunities to visit India, acquire education and learn about Indian culture.

There are several important schemes, under which India provides scholarships for Southeast Asian students to study in India. Under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS) of the (ICCR), 55 scholarships are provided to Southeast Asian countries (Brunei-1, Thailand-10, Malaysia-1, Philippines-1, Vietnam-6, Combodia-2, Indonesia-20, Laos-4 and Myanmar-10). Thirty scholarships are provided to BIMSTEC countries. Myanmar and Thailand from Southeast Asia come under the BIMSTEC umbrella. The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has established 20 cultural centers (and two sub-centers) worldwide. Of these, Southeast Asia has only two centers (Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur) and one sub-center (Bali).

These centers organize performances of dance, drama, and music, essay competitions, lectures, photo exhibitions, and so on. They also conduct classes for yoga, Indian music and Hindi language. However, with the increasing importance of Southeast Asia in India's foreign policy, there is an immediate need to open more centers in the region. Educational assistance forms another important element in India's cultural diplomacy, offering Southeast Asians opportunities to visit India, acquire education and learn about Indian culture.

There are several important schemes, under which India provides scholarships for Southeast Asian students to study in India. Under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS) of the (ICCR), 55 scholarships are provided to Southeast Asian countries (Brunei-1, Thailand-10, Malaysia-1, Philippines-1, Vietnam-6, Combodia-2, Indonesia-20, Laos-4 and Myanmar-10). Thirty scholarships are provided to BIMSTEC countries. Myanmar and Thailand from Southeast Asia come under the BIMSTEC umbrella. These centers organize performances of dance, drama, and music, essay competitions, lectures, photo exhibitions, and so on. They also conduct classes for yoga, Indian music and Hindi language. However, with the increasing importance of Southeast Asia in India's foreign policy, there is an immediate need to open more centers in the region. Educational assistance forms another important element in India's cultural diplomacy, offering Southeast Asians opportunities to visit India, acquire education and learn about Indian culture.

There are several important schemes, under which India provides scholarships for Southeast Asian students to study in India. Under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS) of the (ICCR), 55 scholarships are provided to Southeast Asian countries (Brunei-1, Thailand-10, Malaysia-1, Philippines-1, Vietnam-6, Combodia-2, Indonesia-20, Laos-4 and Myanmar-10). Thirty scholarships are provided to BIMSTEC countries. Myanmar and Thailand from Southeast Asia come under the BIMSTEC umbrella.

In Silicon Valley, there is a very active Indian Cultural Center that promotes Indian culture by organizing events and offering classes. Several wealthy Indians have established Indian Studies departments at major universities in the United States to project a positive image of India.

Indians have achieved the kind of domination of their region that could not be achieved by the force of arms. Rather than its huge military and its nuclear arsenal, India's soft power based in Bollywood has been its weapon of choice. Almost every child, every newspaper and every TV channel in Pakistan follows the day to day activities of Bollywood stars like Amitab Bachan and Aishwariya Rai. Having established its cultural dominance over its neighbors including Pakistan, India is now setting its sights on Hollywood and US media to become a major media and entertainment powerhouse extending its influence and spreading its culture well beyond South Asia. The Indians are coming! Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone and Walt Disney and Sony bosses had better watch out!

11 comments:

Vivek said...

Interesting post. It illustrates well the influence achieved by film and music industries vis-a-vis expensive military strategic options. Not just for India but for western nations as well.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Aaakar Patel on Punjabis and Urdu-speakers of Bollywood:

The dominant communities of Bollywood are two: the Urdu-speakers of North India and, above all, the Punjabis from in and around Lahore. They rule Bollywood and always have. To see why this is unusual, imagine a Pakistan film industry set in Karachi but with no Pashtuns or Mohajirs or Sindhis. Instead the actors are all Tamilian and the directors all Bengalis. Imagine also that all Pakistan responds to their Tamil superstars as the nation's biggest heroes. That is how unusual the composition of Bollywood is.

A quick demonstration. Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan are the three current superstars. All three are Urdu-speakers. In the second rung we have Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Shahid Kapoor and Ajay Devgan. Of these, Hrithik, Ajay and Akshay are Punjabi while Saif is Urdu-speaking. Shahid Kapoor, as his name suggests, is half-Punjabi and half-Urdu-speaking.

Behind the camera, the big names are Punjabi: Karan Johar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Yash Chopra of Lahore.

The Kapoor clan of Lyallpur is the greatest family in acting, not just in Bollywood but anywhere in the world. It has produced four generations of superstars: Prithviraj Kapoor, his sons Raj, Shammi and Shashi, their children Rishi and Randhir, and the current generation of Ranbir, Kareena and Karisma.

Bollywood is a Punjabi industry. We have Dev Anand of Lahore, Balraj Sahni of Rawalpindi, Rajendra Kumar of Sialkot, IS Johar of Chakwal, Jeetendra, Premnath, Prem Chopra, Anil Kapoor and Dharmendra who are all Punjabis. Sunil Dutt of Jhelum, Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna, Vinod Mehra, Suresh Oberoi of Quetta, and all their star kids are Punjabis. Composer Roshan (father of Rakesh and grandfather of Hrithik) was from Gujranwala.

What explains this dominance of Punjabis in Bollywood? The answer is their culture. Much of India's television content showcases the culture of conservative Gujarati business families. Similarly, Bollywood is put together around the extroverted culture and rituals of Punjabis.

The sangeet and mehndi of Punjabi weddings are as alien to the Gujarati in Surat as they are to the Mohajir in Karachi. And yet Bollywood's Punjabi culture has successfully penetrated both. Bhangra has become the standard Indian wedding dance. Writer Santosh Desai explained the popularity of bhangra by observing that it was the only form of Indian dance where the armpit was exposed. Indians are naturally modest, and the Punjabi's culture best represents our expressions of fun and wantonness.

Even artsy Indian cinema is made by the people we call Punjus - Gurinder Chadha, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair.

Another stream of Bollywood is also connected to Lahore, in this case intellectually, and that is the progressives. Sajjad Zaheer (father of Nadira Babbar), Jan Nisar Akhtar (father of lyricist Javed and grandfather of actor/director Farhan and director Zoya), Kaifi Azmi (father of Shabana), Majrooh Sultanpuri and so many others have a deep link to that city.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story from Entertainment Weekly on Spielberg's plans for a movie on Kashmir:

The last time Steven Spielberg set a movie in India, the result was 1984′s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — a record-breaking box-office smash that also angered Indians due to its inaccurate depiction of their culture. But after a 29-year break, it seems that Spielberg is ready to return to the subcontinent — though this time, perhaps he’ll leave the monkey brains in Los Angeles.

Spielberg, who is currently visiting Mumbai with his wife Kate Capshaw, tells the Times of India that he’s in the midst of planning a film that takes place in the paper’s home country. “We have finalized a script for a movie that DreamWorks and our partners Reliance Entertainment plan to make together,” the director said. Reliance Entertainment is a wing of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, an Indian conglomerate; its chairman, Anil Ambani, is also a financial backer of DreamWorks.

“Part of it will take place on the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir,” said Spielberg, referring to the hotly contested region that has been the flashpoint for hostilities between the two rival nations. “But we’re still trying to figure out the casting, locations and who’s going to direct it.”


http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/03/12/steven-spielberg-india-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Time Magazine article on Hollywood bending to get Chinese business:

We already knew some filming of Iron Man 3 took place in China, and that the movie has a Chinese co-distributor and that Chinese actor Wang Xueqi has a role — but, as of late last week, Chinese Iron Man fans have another reason to feel special: they’re getting their very own version of the movie.

(MORE: Licence to Cut as Skyfall Censored in China)

After the May 3 release of the Marvel tentpole, another edition will be released in China and will be marketed and distributed by Chinese distribution company DMG Entertainment. (DMG is listed as a co-producer for the film on IMDB, but this latest press release clarifies that, in China at least, the movie is a Marvel production distributed by DMG.) The announcement, available on Deadline, told fans that the Chinese version would include bonus footage:

The Chinese version of the film will also feature a special appearance of China’s top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will offer specially prepared bonus footage made exclusively for the Chinese audience. Marvel Studios’ experience working on this film with Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi and in shooting in China has been very positive and has created a springboard for future collaboration with China’s talented stars and its growing film and television industry.

DMG has experience with this kind of situation, as the Los Angeles Times points out: Looper also received financing from the company and had a Chinese version that showed more of Shanghai than U.S. audiences saw.

These little nods to the appetites of Chinese fans — or, in some cases, the potential future decisions of Chinese censors, as other movies have learned the hard way — may not seem like much. But studios must be betting that a few extra Chinese location shots or scenes with Chinese actors could pay off in a big way, and they’ve got reason to think it’s possible: analysts predict that China, currently the No. 2 box-office market in the world, will surpass the U.S. within the next decade.


http://entertainment.time.com/2013/04/01/iron-man-3-chinese-fans-will-see-different-cut-of-the-movie/

Riaz Haq said...

Is "Waar" anti-India? How about #Pakistan-bashing in #Bollywood films "Border", "Gadar", "Maa Tujhe Salaam", etc http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/04/indias-hostility-toward-pakistan.html

Here's NY Times piece on how #India's #Bollywood negatively stereotypes #Pakistan

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/how-bollywoods-views-on-pakistan-evolved/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian view of Waar as published in Emirate 24X7:

One of the most intense rivals on the cricket field, India and Pakistan are capable of turning a dead rubber into a fierce battle of egos.

Now, the film industries of these two countries have realised the box office potential of turning a movie into an ‘India vs Pakistan’ affair.

The age-old rivalry is given the re-make treatment with renewed vigour and often a cross-border love angle, after all, in Bollywood and Lollywood, love still rules.

Pakistan’s latest super-hit film 'Waar' seems fair give-back for a generation of cross-border bashing films coming out of India – including 'Ek Tha Tiger', 'Gadar' and 'Agent Vinod'.



In Shaan Shahid's 'Waar' (Strike), militants overrun a Pakistani police academy and kill 100 officers. An Indian spy and her accomplice are behind the success of the mission.

Pakistan’s first big-budget movie depicts every volatile aspect of Pakistan’s rocky relationship with India.

Even in Pakistan, 'Waar' has been denounced by some liberals wary of what they see as fiery nationalistic rhetoric and scenes demonising India.

The narrative is simple and packed with action.

Indian villains team up with militants to plot spectacular attacks across Pakistan.

Pakistani security forces jump in and save the day.

'Waar' has proved to be hugely successful, attendees leapt to their feet to applaud the patriotic scenes.

Bilal Lashari, ‘Waar’s’ 31-year-old director, believes that too much is being read in-between the lines.

The fact that the Indian intelligence agency RAW features prominently has raised a few hackles.

Though Bilal confesses that there is a subtle hint of select Indian characters causing trouble in Pakistan, he re-emphasises that his is not a propaganda film and has to be looked as a 'high quality' entertainer.

The film has also revived the stagnating film industry in Pakistan.

If Pakistan's film industry has discovered this new means of minting money, Bollywood was flogging this potential script to death as early as the 1990s.



In the early 2000s, films like 'Gadar' and 'Maa Tujhe Salaam', were still based on blatant Pakistan-bashing scenes.

Recently, Saif Ali Khan's 'Agent Vinod' and Salman Khan’s 'Ek Tha Tiger' faced problems with the Pak censors boards.

Pakistan banned 'Agent Vinod' a few days before its scheduled release, most likely because of its critical portrayal of the Pakistan's generals and spies.

They are shown providing support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and scheming to set off a nuclear suitcase bomb in India's capital.

In 'Ek Tha Tiger' Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy posing as a scientist's part-time home caretaker while Salman Khan plays a RAW agent who falls in love with Kaif's character.



Films portraying love and peace between the two nations, work the reverse angle with some success - latest being 'Main Hoon Na' and 'Veer Zaara'.

Indo-Pak scripts are, by the final credits, a mirror reflection of the Indo-Pak political situation - one step forward and two steps back.


http://www.emirates247.com/entertainment/pakistan-goes-to-waar-with-bollywood-s-gadars-agent-vinods-2013-11-05-1.526944

Riaz Haq said...

#Bollywood's #Dhoom3 story a big ego booster for "#India Shining". Indian thief outsmarts #Chicago cops. Could only be caught by Mumbai cops

Riaz Haq said...

International charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is taking legal action against the producers of Bollywood film "Phantom", saying its misrepresentation of the medical group could put its aid workers deployed in conflict zones at risk.

The action-thriller was released on Friday and features British-Indian actress Katrina Kaif playing a role she has described as an MSF aid worker who helps a disgraced Indian soldier, played by actor Saif Ali Khan, to assassinate Pakistani militants accused of being behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In promotional interviews for the Hindi film this week, Kaif was quoted as saying, "NGO workers have ties with local fanatical groups" in war-torn regions, without mentioning that many aid groups maintain strict neutrality in order to do their work safely.

In the film's trailer, her character is seen firing a pistol and rifle in two different scenes.

MSF said it had not been consulted over the content of the film and was not associated with it in any way. The humanitarian agency had "a strict no guns policy" in all its clinics and did not employ armed guards, it added.

"None of our staff would ever carry a gun. Any portrayal that suggests otherwise is dangerous, misleading and wrong," MSF said in a statement late on Thursday.

"We have contacted the film’s production team and are taking legal action in order to correct this dangerous misrepresentation of our organisation and its work."

The film's director Kabir Khan and producers Sajid Nadiadwala and Siddharth Roy Kapur could not immediately be reached for comment.

"Phantom" was banned by a Pakistani court last week in response to a petition filed by Hafiz Saeed, the man India accuses of masterminding the killing of 166 people over three days in November 2008.

Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which the United Nations has listed as a terrorist organisation, said the film whose main villain is a man called "Hariz Saeed" maligns Pakistan and vilifies him.

MSF - which has thousands of health workers such as doctors, nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists and psychiatrists in more than 70 countries - said it was essential that the group was not misrepresented given the dangerous nature of their work.

"The only way we can safely work in places such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen, where there is active fighting, is by explaining to every group on the ground that we are independent, neutral and impartial and interested only in providing medical care to people who need it," MSF said.

"Any portrayal that suggests MSF does anything other than provide medical care could endanger our patients, staff, our ability to work in places where people might not otherwise have access to healthcare and undermine our reputation."

(Reporting by Nita Bhalla, editing by Alisa Tang. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/08/28/india-bollywood-aid-idINKCN0QX0XF20150828

Riaz Haq said...

No PAKISTANI actor said "I have lost faith in India" when you banned WAAR and we also kept quiet when you banned Bin Roye in Maharashtra fearing a reaction from RSS type extremist organizations. First you become part of a film which shows Pakistan to be a terrorist HQ and then complain when its banned? If u think its funny how a terrorist can go to court in Pakistan, i too find it funny how a mass murderer of Muslims in Gujrat can become the Prime Minister of India. Let me now say this, because of movies like Phantom and hateful actors like Saif Ali Khan, I AM LOSING FAITH IN INDIA.

https://www.facebook.com/182248258505523/photos/a.766368643426812.1073741828.182248258505523/947243148672693/?type=1&theater

Riaz Haq said...

What do you get when you put Saif Ali Khan and Katrina together? “A Nawab and a mannequin” is what one critic wrote.

One of the most controversial films in recent times, Phantom is based on the 26/11 Mumbai attack and revolves around an Indian’s (played by Saif Ali Khan) quest to find and kill Hariz Saeed — a character based on Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed who India considers to be the mastermind behind the attack.

Having created quite a hype, the film delivered a meek opening at the box office with critics bashing the movie. After delivering a blockbuster like like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, everyone was wondering the same thing: What was Kabir Khan thinking?

Here are excerpts of some of the reviews published in Indian publications:

India Today:

Saif-Katrina’s tale of 26/11 Mumbai Attacks is a veritable phantom

“Zoned out? This is exactly the kind of buffoonery one ends up spending time on during the film. There are so many long-drawn pauses and sub-plots, and so many new faces introduced at the drop of a hat. Kabir Khan’s treatment of the story is at best passable.

Saif’s performance is okay-ish. When in motion, he’s convincing; when speaking, not quite. Katrina’s gun-toting avatar is as smoking hot as her sea-diving one. As for her acting, not much has improved.

Phantom begins fine, and then loses way so badly that by the end, you’re just waiting for an extra helping of Afghan jalebi. Among the songs, that’s the one that stays on the mind long after the credits roll.

By the end of Phantom, one is left with a disarray of emotions within.”

First Post:

Kabir Khan’s ‘thriller’ with Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif is plain boring

“There is only one explanation for Phantom: the cast and crew of the film really wanted a paid holiday.

As an idea, Phantom crackles with possibility. For the plot, there is only one word: woeful. Phantom could have been a clever film. It borrows heavily from very dramatic, real incidents that are begging to be fictionalised. Only here, the characters are badly drawn, the dialogues are clumsy, the transitions are jumpy and the politics are horribly simplified — it’s as though the screenplay was written overnight. The film quickly starts feeling predictable and the strategies to kill the terrorists are not particularly gripping.”

Rediff:

Saif and Katrina make Phantom a joke

“There is a lot that a film-going audience can forgive in a production. But one of the hardest to overlook is when the filmmakers pick the wrong people for the principal parts.

Khan, who would much rather charm in a suit, here wears one scowl throughout, while Kaif, who speaks every line of dialogue in the same pre-teen tone, is here made to pick up a machine gun and fire.

This is less a motion picture and more a vanity vehicle for two stars who want to try role-playing as GI Joes. The result is an exasperatingly childish film.

Tragically, pretty much everything in Phantom goes according to plan, making for an inert, unchallenging and boring watch.

Stay away from Phantom. It gives audiences a raw deal.”

Wow! These reviews are pretty harsh. Well, let’s just thank our censor board for banning Phantom and sparing us the torture.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/946429/indian-film-critics-slam-phantom-call-it-a-joke/

Riaz Haq said...

Decline movie watchers in #India force #Bollywood to target #Pakistan market @firstpost


http://www.firstpost.com/bollywood/waning-audiences-limited-stars-and-pakistan-why-bollywood-is-not-living-up-to-its-potential-3009006.html

A few weeks ago, the famous producer Karan Johar was interviewed on the business of cinema and he said something that insiders have known for a long time, that the number of people watching movies in India was actually falling every year.
Some of the reasons for this are to do with infrastructure. India has only one screen per lakh of the population. The United States, the world's biggest film industry, has 12. China, which through Hong Kong has the second biggest film industry, has about 2.5 screens per lakh.
As cities in India begin tearing down old cinema halls and build malls, the number of screens is set to go down even further. The other problem is that the multiplex screens in new malls are too expensive for most middle-class families. Tickets are around Rs 250 and taking a family to see a movie regularly would severely dent household incomes. Service tax and entertainment tax rates are high and there is not that much scope to reduce the prices of the tickets.
And it is not as if the producers and studios are being greedy. In fact, one major producer, Walt Disney, announced recently that it would exit the Bollywood movie production business after it made big losses.
Some of the reasons for the decline in movie watchers have to do with the industry. A friend of mine said to me that the big Bollywood stars did not make enough movies and there was little to watch. Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan now acted in only about one film each year and made money through advertisements and television. This meant that many people, even if they had the money to spend on a movie and wanted to go, often had nothing available for them to watch.
Bollywood is one of only three major film industries, along with Hollywood and Hong Kong and each of these three has a star system. This means a list of famous and recognisable actors who can guarantee a film will attract a certain number of viewers.
The problem has been that Bollywood, though it makes the most movies (if we include the films also made in the south Indian languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam) per year, has a limited number of big name stars. Hollywood has many more people who can star in a big movie.
The other issue is that unlike Hong Kong's movies, Bollywood's are not universal. Why do I say this? Hong Kong's martial arts movies are quite physical. Their stars like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have become famous heroes in America and also in India. The Hongkong movies, because they are action-oriented, do not lose much of their quality when they are dubbed.
Indian movies are not action oriented, and the quality of the action is not as high as in Hongkong movies. Because there is music and dancing, the dubbing is not as easy to do and the loss of quality is much more. This is the reason why the export earnings of our movies is much less than Hollywood and Hongkong movies. It is mostly people of South Asian origin which like and watch our movies.
Even here, the audience may be narrowing. In Pakistan, there is a big market for Indian movies in their multiplexes. For decades this revenue was lost to Bollywood because the movies were pirated. Under former president Pervez Musharraf, the official screening of movies was allowed, benefiting both nations. Today all Bollywood movies are shown there. Unfortunately, the current state of ties between the two countries has been allowed to deteriorate so much that we should not be surprised if Musharraf's wise decision is reversed.
It is because of all of these reasons that Bollywood is not growing though it has great potential. It seems destined, along with the rest of India's economy, to be showing promise that it cannot match through delivery.