“Are you serious? What’s in the name?” That’s how many people reacted so far when I expressed my problem with the word Tollywood, Bollywood and the other “woods” in the country. But will you guys ask for a Vada Pav at the McDonalds? I am sure you will end up eating a McAlooTikki – an American interpretation of Vadapav! Well, It’s arguably a democracy and everything has a space in the free market! After 66 years of Independent India, I still wonder if we suffer from colonial hangover? Is it some kind of self-imposed Cultural Imperialism foddered by the western media? Should Amit Khanna be blamed for coining the word Bollywood that in turn created insecurity for other film industries to have a name with the “wood”?

Whether it was insecurity or the reverence for the same name! There are endless questions and debatable arguments that arise which are never cared or answered while the stereotyping continues to prevail. We should understand that movies are an extension to the socio-cultural backdrop of a region or a country and not any multi billion dollar corporation that has its branches across the world. The identity surely lies within its language, culture and society, which is reflected and induced into the craft and storytelling.

The terms Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood, Mollywood, Sandalwood etc. are derogatory and demeaning which are aped from the word “Hollywood”. They might represent respective film industries, but the names don’t have to mock “Hollywood”. Very few know that Hollywood is just a place located in Los Angeles, California and a metonym for the Motion Picture Industry of the United States.

Indian Film Industry is one among the largest film industries in the world that produces many movies in par with other major film industries. It’s a unique industry that contains close to 25 language-based industries, which closely churn out at least thousand films a year that makes a business approximately. Our films also do get a release in the neighboring countries apart from being honored in the major film festivals conducted across the world. We have unique standards, technique and approach towards the art of storytelling, which is changing constantly with time. With films like PK, Baahubali etc, the market and space for Indian Cinema is growing in many parts of the world. Telugu Film Industry holds 5 Guinness world records for showing Excellency in various categories and also being the second largest in the Indian film industry, in terms of market capitalization and infrastructure. Do we still need to have a borrowed identity? Can we just have a name that we deserve and the name that deserves us? I don’t know if Britain owes us any reparations but the western media and the Indian media outlets do owe reparations for stereotyping us as the ‘dance and song industry’ or simply putting the whole Indian Cinema as ‘Bollywood’. In information rich era ‘identity crisis’ shouldn’t be a problem. The terms Bollywood, Tollywood etc. might have become brand names but the idea of re branding them into what is Right starts with every one of us.

About the Author:

Priyadarshi Pulikonda is an actor known for playing the role of "Kaushik" in the movie "Pellichoopulu". He also directed the shortfilms Ponnu - Vaadu (2012), The Delivery (2013) and Machan enaku iniki Kalyanam (2013). He is also a really good writer, prose poet who has strong opinions and speaks his mind freely.

2 thoughts on “Stop calling BOLLYWOOD or TOLLYWOOD

  • Anuradha ReddyJuly 18, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Priyadarshi!

    Congratulations for your achievements so far, long way to go. Loved your performance in videos, short films and in Pellichoopulu.

    Wish you all the very best.


  • akhil kokkuluruOctober 1, 2017 at 7:59 am

    only a very few will do like this. Wondering what ??? letting people to know whats the real you is .

    meeru eppatinunchoo gattiga cheppali anukunna vishayalu mee identity tho socialize chestunnaru.

    actually mee “Bollywood” article laagane nenu tarachu maa friends evaraina tollywood leka bollywood ila antuntey correct chestunta, TELUGU FILM INDUSTRY anamani .

    the importance of audition article will be an eye opener .

    naaku personall ga oka line touched me: “తెల్లవాడితో పోల్చుకుంటే కానీ తెలియదు రూపాయి విలువెంతో” idi chaala touch chesindi


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