Newly minted Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore may have a conundrum on his hands soon — that of being asked to coin an appropriate name for the Hindi film industry, one that will help extinguish the use of the word ‘Bollywood’ to refer to it. This plea for help is being made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, known not just for his shrewd politics, but also his love of music and films. He recently dressed up as late superstar Elvis Presley during the festival of Rangapanchami, a carnival held five days after Holi in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, and has been known to carry a tune quite competently.
“A couple of days ago, I met with renowned director Subhash Ghai who told me, quite in the course of a conversation, that the term ‘Bollywood’ now used to refer to the Hindi film industry was a derogatory reference coined by foreign media, and that we should discourage its use. He said that it made it seem as though we were a pale copy of Hollywood, whereas we had pioneers like Dadasaheb Phalke and renowned film makers like Satyajit Ray and others. This hurts our self-respect,” said Mr. Vijavargiya.
While he didn’t offer an alternative name for the industry, he said he is writing to Mr. Rathore to exert his influence to make sure that the use of the word ‘Bollywood’ and its regional variants ‘Kollywood’, ‘Mollywood’, etc., be discouraged. Instead, they should be referred to with the name of the language in which they produce films. He also did not explain quite how Mr. Rathore could achieve that.
“In 1998, the then NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government under Atal ji (former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee) conferred industry status on the Indian film industry, and freed it from the shackles of the mafia and its illegal finances. Now, institutional finance is available to make films, and the change is showing in terms of the clean-up that has happened. This NDA government could also contribute to the change in the way the industry is named, something that will reflect self-respect and pride,” he said.