It should come as no surprise that in a world where McDonald’s restaurants on street corners in rural India sell vegetarian McAlooTikki burgers and 60% of the world’s population have a mobile phone, that the global film industry is also showing the signs of globalisation. I grew up with Hollywood and it wasn’t long until came across Bollywood, but I am ashamed to say that I had never even heard of the world’s “third largest producer of feature films”, Nollywood (This is Nollywood, 2014).
Nollywood is the name given to the Nigerian film industry which began to thrive early this century. In the 1980s and 90s, crime and insecurity in Nigeria meant cinemas were shut down and people were too scared to leave their home after dark. Entertainment from the west and Bollywood were not peaking interest and suddenly there was a niche for entertainment in Nigeria.
With Nollywood proving to be a growing market, it would not be unreasonable to presume that Hollywood might soon take notice, as per its record. Hollywood has a history of co-opting aspects of global film industries. Schaefer and Karan identify that “Avatar, borrowed from the Indian Mythology”, and also point out that much of the marketing for Slumdog Millionaire implied a relation to Bollywood which did not in fact exist (Schaefer & Koran 2010, p.312). It appears that while Hollywood acknowledges the booming success of Bollywood enough to hybridise, it is either yet to notice or yet to appreciate the popularity of Nollywood enough to show any signs of similarity.
This could be a result of the development Nollywood is still undergoing. In fact Pierre Barrot attests the success of the spread of Nollywood to the domestic market “becoming too small” and that this impedes it from impacting on “national unity” as other film industries do (Okome, 2007). Despite this, Nollywood is growing. Its story will be different to that of both Holly and Bolly wood, and that in itself is a reason to keep watching. Nollywood could prove to be a different to the kind of industry we’ve all known.
‘About Nollywood’, This is Nollywood, viewed 24 August 2014 .
Karan, K & Schaefer, DJ 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 309-316.
Okome, O 2007, ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the site of consumption’, Post Colonial Text, vol. 3, no. 2.