Posted on October 8, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Bollywood Featured What's Happenin'

How Gambling Has Influenced Bollywood

Gambling has been a mainstay in the film industry for pretty much as long as films have existed, and this is no different in Bollywood, which is now starting to see gambling becoming a feature within its films more and more.

The fast-paced action experienced in casinos, whether that be at a blackjack table or the roulette wheel, has been a base for the storyline of many films, who like to use the atmosphere inside a casino to create tension within their story. Some of the most famous movies featuring gambling include several James Bond films, Ocean’s 11, Warner Bros. Pictures´ The Hangover and Rounders. Gambling is widely accepted as a hobby in the western world, which means that it is quite common for a character in a film to come into some gambling related trouble. In fact, these types of scenarios are pretty common in Hollywood films.

However, as gambling is heavily restricted within India, the influence of gambling on Bollywood films is different. There are only three states that currently allow casinos and they are Goa, Daman and Sikkim and the gambling market is only just starting to emerge. In spite of this, Bollywood has seen their films with some aspect of gambling in them go on to make a positive impression with their audiences.

Striker is a Bollywood film that was released in 2010 and is based on real life events that took place. The main character Surya is introduced to the game of Carrom at a young age and goes on to win a championship when he is 12. He then goes on to lose all his savings playing the game, which culminates in him playing a very tense match against the shady character of Jaleel. This film didn’t do too well at the box office, but it has become quite an online sensation; and managed to rake up 800,000 YouTube views in the first two weeks of its release.

Jannat, which means heaven, is a crime romance film that was released in 2008 and saw huge success not only in India, but also worldwide. It is about a young con man who is obsessed with making money and becomes sick of playing low stakes card games and then becomes a bookie. It does downhill though when he then becomes involved with match fixing. The film sends out a very strong message about the negative impact of greed and gambling.

Gambling has been a feature of Bollywood films for a long time and this is proven by the film Gambler, a Bollywood thriller released in 1971. Raja the main character, was abandoned by his mother and raised by a criminal Don, Master. Whilst working for Master, Raja becomes very good at card games; and then starts to make enough money doing so to leave Master.  He then somehow finds himself in the frame for the murder of Master.

It is clear that gambling is already featuring within many Bollywood films nowadays and has done for quite some time. As gambling because more accepted and prevalent in India it is likely we will see it featured more and more in films. If more casinos are build within India it is probable that they will also start to feature in Bollywood scenes.

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