"I Need an Indian Touch": Glocalization and Bollywood Films
• Examining the importance of the Bollywood film industry
marrying the traditions of India with that of the Western
world while maintaining a certain level of “an Indian touch”
in order to remain popular amongst Indians.
• The demand to become more global is a common theme in
today’s popular media, but this article examines how culture
can be maintained in a “Western domination” for it’s local
• Past studies rarely captured non-Western audiences and their view
on Bollywood and instead have focused on viewers in North
America who have a different understanding of the messages being
• The analysis of this study comes from fieldwork obtained over a
seven month period in Northern Indian in 2005-2006.
• 49 formal and informal interviews with men and women ages 22-39
• Most were students at Punjabi University and their family
(Rao, 2010, p. 5)
• Interviews were conducted using formal questionnaires that
were prepared prior to the sessions. Rao also spent time with
the subjects, visiting their homes and villages and sat with
them while they watched films.
• In order to understand social and cultural norms, Rao would
ask subjects about political and social issues unrelated to the
(Rao, 2010, p. 6)
• To maintain popularity amongst Indians, Bollywood films
must maintain some national and cultural identity.
• Clothing should continue to incorporate traditional dress
such as saris, salwar kameej and sherwanis in order to stay
committed to tradition and virtue.
• Foreign location isn’t problematic unless it looses the Indian
feel and story the audience can connect with and in this case
Bollywood appears to maintain it’s “Indianness”.
Rao (2010, pp. 6-10)
• Songs and dance are a large part of the Bollywood culture and
should remain; however, the Indian heros and heroines should not
exhibit as much overt sexualization of dance as that of the “foreign”
back-up dancers to maintain the appearance of being “untainted”.
• Emotions should follow the “Indian theory of emotion” modeled
after Bhakti and Vaishnav traditions (Rao, 2010, p. 14). Emotional
connection to family is what drives the narrative in the Bollywood
film enabling audiences ability to experience their own “true
identity”. This aspect is often lacking in Hollywood films, thus
locales insist it’s importance in remaining in Bollywood films (Rao,
2010, p. 14).
Rao (2010, pp. 10-14)
• Interpretive approach was used in this study. Rao was trying
to understand the fusion of local and global media impacts
on the Bollywood film industry and how audiences feel about
• Rao used interviews and interactions in a field study. The
research was more concerned about the behavioral results
and how communication and culture intermingle when
studied in context.
• “The active audience of Bollywood films in India does not
passively succumb to complete Westernization, but rather
successfully demands a compromise between it and India.”
(Rao, 2010, p. 1)
This quote is key in that it shows while reaching a global audience
one must also maintain a sense of local culture in order to remain
true to traditions.
• “While films and audiences integrate the [MTVization] of
dance borrowed from Western MTV music videos, the Indian
touch remains…” (Rao, 2010, p. 13)
I believe this quote to be of importance because it highlights that
while global influence is important, it’s equally important to
maintain tradition and beliefs of local culture.
• How do you think this study could have been conducted
using the social scientific approach, would it have been as
successful in its feedback?
• Do you believe that local cultures can be maintained when
trying to reach global appeal? In the case of this article and
what you read, do you think locales should demand culture
integrity be maintained for the sake of tradition or allow
popularity dictate what is displayed?
Rao, S., (2010). “I Need an Indian Touch”: Glocalization and
Bollywood Films., Journal of International and
Intercultural Communication, 3(1), 1-19.