The platter of culture: the cultural variety of india
When it comes to the music and movies of India hardly any other country can ever throw a challenge, except maybe for the United States in the amount of diversity that is served on a platter here. When it comes to the context of movies and India’s so called soft power, many people may have a preconceived notion about Bollywood being the only film industry which involves a lot of larger than life elements. However in India there is a lot of cultural difference when it comes to the movies, music and even dancing forms.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons
In the context of movies there is a sharp difference when it comes to the main stream Bollywood films as it typically dominates the northern and eastern parts of India. However, the funny part is that in the context of Eastern India, the culturally rich states of Bengal, Orissa and Assam have their own film culture, especially Bengal. Boasting of master class world level directors such as Academy winner for life time achievement Satyajit Ray and also Hrithik Ghatak amongst the few in Bollywood, as the film industry is colloquially known here.
Now down south, the style of film making is absolutely different, it banks on stronger emotion often based on emotions of aggression or revenge. The dance moves are also more vibrant with the fast beats down south, which have a flavour typical catering to the local needs. Other places like Maharashtra in India, though, may be home to Bollywood but it has a strong Marathi film making fraternity there as well. It has also bagged several national awards in various categories on their own right as much like the Bengal Film fraternity.
When it comes to the context of music and dance, it is even more varied as each of them has their own identity. In Bengal you find three popular forms ranging from the compositions of world famous poet Rabindra Nath Tagore to Nazrul and even folklore or religious songs. Other places too have their own style of music, with south India specializing in Carnatic music. When you travel north east you find a special kind of musical feel connecting to the mountain and the spirit of the people out there.
Therefore when you talk of cultural difference, undoubtedly one of the most important contexts of India is the sheer amount of variety that you get here.