Nigeria’s love affair with Bollywood

Nigeria’s love affair with Bollywood began in 1950. Back then, the Nollywood movie industry was not popular. But the people craved entertainment in the form of movies. Unfortunately, Hollywood movie licenses were expensive. So instead, Nigerian startup merchants turned their gaze towards Bollywood. Even today, in the larger cities of Nigeria, Bollywood movies are shown in open courtyard theaters and makeshift tents daily. After all, Nigerians watched even the undubbed Bollywood movies several times.

Why did Bollywood become famous in Nigeria?

Even though the love affair between Nigeria and Bollywood began as an opportunistic venture, the love for Bollywood spread like wildfire. This was because the Nigerians saw themselves in the Indian actors. There were several similarities in culture. Some of them are,

  1. Arranged marriages
  2. Caste barriers
  3. Exaggerated importance is given to family name, honor, and religion
  4. Familiar stories of suppression by the British as both were victims of British Colonialism.
  5. Both the traditions revered their ancient mythologies.

Even some of their traditions and behaviors were similar. Some are:

  1. They have a special respect for their family elders
  2. They both dress in long tunics.
  3. People of both the culture eat with their fingers.
  4. The streets of both countries have cows roaming freely in their streets
  5. The weddings are large and colorful
  6. Households have many generations of families living together.
  7. People of both cultures prefer cheesy love without many blatant sex scenes.

Due to these similarities, the Nigerians saw their world mirrored in Bollywood movies. Hence, they welcomed Bollywood with open arms.

How famous is Bollywood in Nigeria?

The impact of Bollywood on the Nigerian people is enormous. Moreover, Hindi TV dramas are now the rave. Pallavi Kulkarni, the actress of the famous romantic drama ‘Vaidehi,’ once visited west Africa. While there, thousands of people welcomed her at the airport. And Several women lined the streets to greet her, wearing the Indian traditional Saris. Meanwhile, husbands in Nigeria are known to complain about their women’s addiction to Indian soap dramas. Also, these Hindi series have overtaken Mexican and Brazilian telenovelas.

Bollywood’s impact on Nigeria:

In busy Nigerian malls in Lagos, one can find hair salons advertising Bollywood haircuts. Yoruba women dressed in a sari and wearing a diadem stand at the shop’s entrance to welcome customers. The attire and looks of Bollywood actors are more popular than the Hollywood fashion in Nigeria.

Nollywood’s impact on Bollywood:

After decades of a love affair between India and West Africa, Nigerian artists are directly venturing into the Bollywood world. Namaste wahala is a Nigerian Rom-Com movie on Netflix. It’s directed by a woman director of Indian origin, Hamisha Daryani Ahuja. It is a cross-cultural movie starring both Indian and Nigerian actors.

Akon from west Africa sang in Hindi in the blockbuster movie Ra one. The film starred Sharukh Khan in the lead, and Akon’s Chammak Challo song was a super hit.

Hence collaborations between two countries of so many similar backgrounds can benefit both parties. Both parties can share best practices and gain access to the incentives available in each country. This way, the love affair between the two countries would become a lifelong marriage.

For more such Bollywood news, click on Priyanka Chopra’s secrets.




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