New on the screen: Bolly good television

19 June 2015 - 02:04 By Yolisa Mkele


There is an inexplicable allure to Bollywood. Like a discarded coin glinting in a field, it draws the eye. Whether that initial attraction is enough to hold your attention is a matter of personal preference but what is undeniable is that the shimmering coin that is Bollywood, with all its singing, dancing and questionable acting, is attracting more eyes than ever."We conducted research and found that there was a great demand for Indian content in South Africa. It's just that people never knew where to find it before. The other problem people had was finding English language content," said Zee TV CEO Harish Goyal, whose new channel Zee World is one of the most recent additions to the DStv stable.Usually, Bollywood conjures up images of sari-clad women in gold jewellery, singing and bobbing their heads horizontally, but Goyal says that is not always the case."It is not all singing and dancing. We have a lot of different types of content from children's shows, to more traditional-style series and movies. The idea is to create a channel that the whole family can watch and enjoy," he said.Perhaps surprisingly, the demand for Indian content is not solely being driven by the diaspora."Zee World is available in 44 countries across the continent and I think that may be because there are many similarities between Indian and African cultures, so people can relate," said Goyal.While the cultural similarities can be debated until the prodigal son returns, there are definitely some similarities when it comes to content and output. According to a report in the International Business Times, Bollywood is the biggest film-making industry in the world with an annual content output nearly double that of Hollywood. Nollywood, the name for the hugely popular Nigerian film industry, is also producing far more films than Hollywood.This is undoubtedly because costs in the two countries are so much lower than in the US, and their respective audiences are less finicky about quality.The two industries also share parallels in their increased willingness to incorporate mysticism and all those delicious cultural titbits that the West abandoned in favour of the Kardashians."What Zee World, and Indian TV in general bring is a kind of beauty and a culture that a lot of channels do not have," said Goyal.In many ways the success of Bollywood is an advert for globalisation. It is an additional, brightly coloured, though badly acted, thread in the global tapestry and a fun way for the rest of us to learn the horizontal head bob.Zee World is on DStv channel 166Best of Zee bestShould you catch yourself on the Zee World channel, these are some of the shows you should look out for:FEAR FILESA horror series based on the experiences of real people who have lived through paranormal experiences. Through re-enactments experts must suss out what happened.ETERNAL LOVEWatch Sahiba, Ranveer and Daljeet get themselves tangled into knots as they navigate love, life and everything else.DESTINYA 'Dallas'-style tale of middle- and upper-class Indian families that has more twists and turns than 'The Fixer'.

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