Trends Driving the Growth of the Pop Culture Phenomenon in India
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Popular culture in India is gradually moving beyond the three religions of Bollywood, cricket, and politics. The urban, millennial youth is now staying far more connected with different entertainment avenues like online mobile gaming, web series, K-Pop, superhero and unconventional movies, cosplay events, merchandise, social media influencers, and much more.
The rising craze for such new-age entertainment has been propelled by the ever-increasing access to affordable data and social media. Here are some of the most prominent trends that are driving the growing adoption of pop culture among Indians:
- Increasing Spends on Merchandise
Further establishing the growth of the pop culture phenomenon in India are the collectors of pop culture-based merchandise. For them, each purchase represents nostalgia, attention to detail, and closeness with the community. Thanks to online websites and licensed vendors making their way into top pop culture events, a lot of such branded memorabilia is now easily accessible for retail purchase. Little surprise, then, that fans adorn their homes and office desks with display cases, gadget cases, t-shirts, figurines, statues and other memorabilia from fantasy movies, anime, comics, video games, and other media from across the world.
It is this high level of engagement, both online and offline, that has helped pop culture events and content build highly-dedicated fandoms in India. However, to emerge as a potential future market for entertainment companies, India needs a bigger fan base that is open to rendezvousing and experiencing a world that is enormous and extravagant.
- Rising The Popularity of International Web Series
“Winter is Coming!” – Ask 10 Indians that and 9 would relate to this captivating phrase from the popular international TV series, Game of Thrones (GOT). The epic fantasy saga has managed to take the country by storm and has inspired an entire generation of Indians who can’t seem to stop talking about it. With the recent launch of its 8th and final season, the show now has fans travelling far and wide to attend specialized screenings, GOT-inspired dining events trips to iconic locations and much more.
Yet another widespread sensation driving the evolution of pop culture in the country is the latest instalment of the seemingly-endless Marvel franchise: the Avengers. Much before its release, the movie had already created ripples with multiple marketing events and meet-ups discussing the previous movies and coming up with fan theories to predict how the plot will unfold.
Joe Russo, the co-director of Avengers: Endgame, also visited India recently to interact with the fans ahead of the film's release, which follows the course of events set in motion by the wiping away of half the universe by Thanos. For die-hard fans, the ‘Snappening’ has become a part of their daily conversations and has even inspired several memes and GIFs. All of this goes to show how India’s passionate and dedicated fan base is more than willing to consume content and experiences related to their favourite popular culture icons.
- International Franchises Making Fandom a Part of Life
For the Indian millennial, affirming fandom as a part of life is the new cool. Recognising the promising potential of the popular culture industry in India, many international organisations are launching experiential cosplay events, musical events, movie screenings, literary events and fan-based conventions. Fans religiously attend them with an eagerness to fill their lives, and social media profiles, with knowledge and a sense of community.
International studies have also started investing in the Indian market. For instance, Marvel India has teamed up with the music maestro AR Rahman to create a special Hindi anthem for Avengers: Endgame – a track that successfully evokes an Indian atmosphere for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- OTT Platforms Tapping the Growing Hunger for Original Local Content
Pop culture typically comprises actors, actresses, musicians and content creators from international web series, music platforms, comedy shows and the like. However, its massive growth over the past few decades in India has also been driven by an influx of original local content from OTT players. An increasing number of urban Indians have shown a preference for original web series like Mirzapur, Sacred Games, Made in Heaven, and Four More Shots Please.
These local language shows are experiencing a major wave of interest, marking a distinctive shift from the typical daily TV soaps. Thanks to easy and affordable access to high-speed internet connections, the new-age entertainment seeker is devouring every new web series with a touch of their finger.