The invincibility of ‘Bollywood’ has faded long back. And the once-in-a-blue-moon Box Office hits aren’t enough to feed the tower-tall ego either.

Getting to it straight, yes, Bollywood is failing.

The ‘visible’ shift occurred after COVID hit us and the Sushant Singh Rajput debate; ever since then, the industry’s been constantly up and down. Given the meaty content available online, people have almost jilted Bollywood. But is it just the ‘content?’ No!

It is the waning stardom! Nobody is a star now. Earlier, to watch their favourite celeb on the big screen, fans paid millions (repeatedly). I mean, the madness was visible. But the current generation doesn’t care about that ‘X’ factor. For the value is really ‘unknown.’

The era of unchallenged Bollywood stardom, epitomized by the Kapoors and Khans, is fading. Audiences are no longer swayed by star power alone; they crave substantive content. Mediocre films that once thrived on celebrity appeal are now falling flat as viewers prioritize quality storytelling over star-studded casts.

The youth disconnect- A shift in cultural cool. Bollywood has lost its status as a cultural touchstone among urban youth. English movies, series, and global phenomena like anime and K-dramas have supplanted Bollywood as the epitome of “cool.” The industry’s attempts to reclaim this demographic often come across as cringe-worthy, further alienating young audiences.

This is the hard one to digest. Failing to impress, an immediate crisis of creativity
Bollywood’s decline isn’t merely the result of external competition; it’s a self-inflicted wound. The industry has struggled to produce compelling narratives, leading audiences to seek fresher, more innovative options. This creative stagnation has driven viewers towards South Indian cinema, which offers a vibrant alternative rather than a direct threat.

The nepotism backlash. The tainted glamour!
The tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput intensified the spotlight on Bollywood’s nepotism, souring public perception of star kids. The allure of celebrity lifestyles, once celebrated, is now met with scepticism and disdain. This shift has diminished the once-glorified “hallelujah” surrounding Bollywood stars, eroding their long-standing aura.

Musical erosion! Bollywood’s musical prowess, once a hallmark of its cinematic identity, has markedly diminished in recent years. The industry, formerly celebrated for its innovative and memorable soundtracks, now leans heavily on uninspired remakes and dull party anthems. This degradation in musical quality has diminished the films’ artistic value and stripped them of a vital promotional asset. The decline in compelling, original music has weakened Bollywood’s overall allure, undermining a critical component that once drew audiences to theatres.

And then enter the OTT! The pandemic piloted an exhaustive transformation in entertainment consumption as Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms began delivering premium content directly to homes. This unparalleled convenience, combined with a rich array of international selections, has posed a formidable challenge for Bollywood in reclaiming its theatre-going audience.

But the ‘Bollywood’ content we see on the OTT is worth it. The issue is with the narrative. Clearly, the audience is saying no to ‘larger than life’ characters and is getting more inclined towards minimalism. Even though the South Wave gave a bombarding blow in between, the obsession is gone now! Particularly among the youth, there is a pronounced shift towards global content (mind you, it is not concentrated within the DC and Marvel anymore; you don’t get to see those long Facebook battles), rendering Bollywood’s offerings increasingly uninspired and obsolete.