Producing Bollywood: sustainability and the impacts on Auckland’s cultural economy
This paper examines the variety of ways producers, as entrepreneurs; create sustainable production networks within the local as well as connecting to global Indian communities. This ethnographic research demonstrates various ways that producers depend on relationships to create sustainable production networks that in turn impact the cultural economy of India as well as the local Indian community. Cultural economy is considered as the “set of socio-economic relations that enable cultural activities” (Pratt, 2008, p. 49). Of events presenting Indian performance culture produced within Auckland’s Indian community, roughly 5% are entirely economically self-sufficient. This results in producers of overseas Bollywood performance events relying on the support of local business sponsors. The findings demonstrate the formulation of various production networks that affect economic and cultural value to the Indian community and the associated cultural economy. Issues of economic sustainability are raised and demonstrates how one event can have significant repercussions on a local businesses. This is illustrated through a case study featuring a 2013 concert in Auckland featuring the highly popular and expensive Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan. Successful events are important not only for individuals’ economic goals; they also have the potential to contribute to the building of social capital and strengthen cultural communities that contribute to the larger cultural economy. Value to the cultural economy is not limited to within the local community as relationships engage transnational communities and funding partners that influence event production practices. Issues around economic relations that enable cultural activities have all been reformulated in the context of a changing diasporic population (both in size and makeup) and a changing cultural performance landscape in the “new” supersized Auckland. This combined with the rising prices of Bollywood stars playing to the desires of the diaspora can have major impacts on the sustainability of production networks and the local business community.