Westerners watch some Bollywood films

The gap between Hollywood and Bollywood

Those who go to the cinema or buy films in Nepal have a choice: On the one hand there are the lavish Hollywood productions with the often revealing actresses, on the other hand the mostly traditional, prudish Hindi films. Two ways of life that collide.

Anyone who rummages through the display in one of the numerous DVD shops in Kathmandu is sure to find what they are looking for. The latest films are available, fresh from the cinema - wrapped in thin plastic film with a self-printed cover. Burned black, of course, for a few cents. Hollywood blockbusters as far as the eye can see. But you wouldn't be in Nepal if the Bollywood strips from neighboring India hadn't arrived here too, with the many dance interludes, the bright female voices and superstar Shah Rukh Khan. What only a branch audience in Europe has, has tons of fans here.

Contrast between prudish Bollywood and the love scenes of western films

At first glance it might just be the difference between American and Indian productions, but basically two worlds collide here and thus two different value systems: on the one hand Hollywood with lots of action, tension, barely clad women and detailed love scenes. The skyscrapers of New York often appear on the screen with busy people rushing from meeting to meeting - career types. In the Bollywood films, on the other hand, you see women dressed in traditional saris with clinking bangles who are well-behaved in family life, can cook and hope for a splendid wedding. In the meantime, strong, more emancipated women have made their way into Hindi films, but they are still prudish: If two people fall in love here, at the latest when they kiss on the mouth, they quickly fade out. There are only a few exceptions to this.

Nepal in particular is a country that is so different from the world in the Hollywood films. Older Nepalese have often never left their country, some women have not even seen their neighborhood, let alone other cultures and continents. Education in the poor country is nowhere near as good as in more developed nations. They know the western world mainly from the movies.

Westerners are immoral, according to the verdict

What can be seen in the films is therefore often believed - and not infrequently corresponds to reality. Because in the tourist regions of Nepal, exactly these clichés are often exemplified: The revealingly dressed European or American who drinks too much over thirst, enjoys his life and does not let anything burn with short-term acquaintances. The Nepalese only see the escapades of the vacationers, but not the hard work at home to be able to afford the vacation. The verdict of quite a few: Westerners are immoral, ruthless, lustful and greedy for money. Their relationships are short-lived, they don't seem to be very picky about mate, and they don't care about the family. If the grandma can no longer take care of herself, she is given to a retirement home. You only visit them a few times a year anyway.

In Nepal, on the other hand, such behavior is completely incomprehensible: Family ties count a lot here, you stay at home with your parents even in adulthood, help them and take care of grandma and grandpa - until they die. We stick together. The husband and wife are often chosen by the family; there are hardly any divorces here. Independence, standing on your own two feet, means something different than in the western world.

As rich as the West is with its material things, it appears poor in the eyes of the locals in terms of social cohesion. The family is not only important in Asia, but also in Western countries - just in a slightly different form. There are different life plans that people grow into. Anyone who has traveled knows this and also understands that the world in the films doesn't always exist the same way out there.


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Julia Ruhs was born in Ludwigsburg in 1994 and studies media and communication in Passau. She loves to travel, is interested in politics, history and languages ​​and wants to work in the field of journalism in the future.

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Category: CultureTags: TV, Film, Hindi, Hollywood, Kathmandu, Mentality, Movie, Reality, World