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How Indian Films are Making a Mark in the International Markets? The audience, distributors and exhibitors are more receptive to Indian content now then they have been in the past

By Vibha Chopra

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Indian movie industry has come a long way in the last two centuries. Three hours of action-packed drama, dialogues, tears, songs and dances are witnessed by many around the globe these days. Our brand of cinema is dubbed, subtitled and thriving in the unlikeliest of places now.

It certainly isn't that Bollywood is taking over the world; our films have a long way to go before that happens. But it is humbling to look at how far our films have gone, how they are taking on a life of their own on foreign soil, and how cinema transcends barriers in ways hard to fathom. I believe the overseas market is still not a full-fledged revenue course for Indian cinema but it's surely on its way. The audience, distributors and exhibitors are more receptive to Indian content now then they have been in the past. Indian content is transcending beyond the diaspora audience in the overseas markets.

Gaining Global Audiences

Having established itself as an industry known for songs and dances primarily to cater to the Indian audience, it's now being duly recognized by audiences across the globe. The Indian popular cinema has over its course of time made a lot of progress in almost all areas, such as financing, marketing and distribution. The makers are trying to tell stories that connect with audiences worldwide. Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, has already said that the next 100 million subscriber growth will come primarily from India for Netflix. In such a scenario, localised Indian content will find more global platforms like Netflix giving it more audiences and making people more familiar with Indian content. Like in case of Indian food and Yoga that has travelled across continents, familiarity to Indian content and exposure for Indian makers to global platforms will become the single largest driver for the proliferation of Indian content across countries

Being Able to Cater to the International Market

One of the critical success factors for these movies is to identify ideas from within the Indian themes which appeal to the audiences around the world. In the recent times, non-traditional markets like Taiwan, China, Turkey, Russia Germany and many others are showing interest in the Indian content. Indian actors like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra are known as the most handsome/hottest in their fields, ahead of many western stars. Similarly, our Indian content or content based on Indians like Life of Pi, Dangal, and Secret Superstar have found a worldwide mainstream audiences in the main market as well as non-traditional markets. The artists are more cognizant of the fact that they have fans across the world and are making a targeted effort to reach out to them and communicate with them via in-person visits to a market or social media interactions.

Technology and Collaboration Playing a Key Role

India has always been the land of some of the oldest texts and stories like Mahabharata and Ramayana. Till now, Indian technicians were not equipped with the best of equipment, technology and skill to tell these stories to a worldwide audience. But with more collaboration, we are seeing Indian maestros like AR Rahman and Resul Pukooty being honoured at a global stage, international directors like Majid Majidi making their films in India and not depicting it any longer as the land of snake charmers and Indian legends like Sridevi and Shashi Kapoor finding their due place in the Oscars Honorarium this year.

India is gradually gaining share in the global market. Having said that, Bollywood's share in the global movie market is still fairly small. However, It does have the potential to grow enormously as filmmakers keep making content that resonates with audiences worldwide.

Vibha Chopra

Head - Zee Studios International

Vibha Chopra has been working for ZEEL for over a decade in various capacities across geographies. Her experience is not only multi-national but also multi-functional in areas such as Marketing, Branding, Digital, Research, Strategy and Live Events. She has lived, studied and worked across different countries such as Japan, Moscow, Cyprus, South Africa, USA, and Canada. This has given her an exposure to various cultures and people, both professionally and personally.

Her last assignment in the US was as Vice President Brand Solutions & Special Projects in which she was responsible for creating and setting up a new business lines for North America, such as original programming, production and live events along with helping sales to monetize properties like DID North America, Lil' Champs North America, SRGMP North America, Super Moms North America and music tours like Unstoppable live in concert with Sajid Wajid. She has spearheaded the launch of a digital product from the concept to architecture to wireframes to launching the brand in the US market. 


As the Head – International Film Distribution & Marketing, she is responsible for marketing and distribution of Indian films across the world. 

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