As more and more American audiences flock to theatres to see powerful hits like “Dangal,” Indian films are becoming more mainstream moneymakers in the United States, frequently grossing more than $8 million in their first week of release.
The 2017 International Indian Film Academy Festival, also known as the Oscars of Bollywood, kicks off this weekend with musical acts and awards at MetLife Stadium in New York City.
If you can’t make it, use it as an excuse to catch up on some of the fantastic film nominations you might have missed otherwise. ‘We’re promoting Indian film by bringing the stars closer to consumers throughout the world and expanding the number of screens,’ IIFA director Viraf Sarkari tells Moneyish.
Some people who are unfamiliar with the genre may think of a Bollywood film as merely having a hero who sings and dances, but this year’s ‘Best Picture’ finalists address complicated and timely subjects such as rape, terrorism, and the Olympics.
According to Variety, Bollywood is a $2.32 billion industry, and India produces more films than any other country, roughly 1,500 to 2,000 each year in more than 20 languages.
In North America, ‘Baahubali 2’ has become the first Indian film to gross more than $13 million in its first week of release, surpassing last year’s record-holder, wrestling drama ‘Dangal,’ which grossed $12.4 million.
Despite competing against blockbusters like ‘How to Be a Latin Lover’ and ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ ‘B2’ came in third at the box office in the United States, surpassing ‘The Circle,’ which starred Tom Hanks and Emma Watson and was released in less than 500 theatres.
Bollywood is even being used by Netflix. Following its introduction in India this year, Netflix launched its first Indian original series, ‘Sacred Games,’ a bilingual Hindi-English series starring actor Saif Ali Khan, 46. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Mumbai-set drama will center on the city’s labyrinth of corruption, politics, and organized crime amid India’s economic resurgence.