South Asian cinema refers to the cinema of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.[1][2][3] The broader terms Asian cinema, Eastern cinema and Oriental cinema in common usage often encompass South Asia as well as East Asia and Southeast Asia.[2]

Cinema is prominent in South Asia, with the Bollywood (representing the most-spoken language in the region of Hindi) and South Indian film industries being the most dominant.[4][5] Pakistan's Lollywood also is growing,[6] while historically, Bengali cinema was highly acclaimed by international film circles.[7][8]

The Far East as a cultural block includes East Asia (green), Southeast Asia (blue) and South Asia (orange).

Styles and genres

The scope of South Asian cinema is huge and takes in a wide array of different film styles, linguistic regions, and genres. South Asian cinema is particularly famous in the West for:

Regional industries

Bangladeshi cinema

Main article: Cinema of Bangladesh

Bangladeshi film industry, is the Bengali language film industry based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The industry often generally referred to as Dhakai Cinema or Dhallywood, has been a significant film industry since the early 1970s. The 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and the first half of the 1990s were the golden years for Bangladeshi films as the industry produced many successful films. The industry has recently begun receiving international acclaim and many Bangladeshi films are getting released internationally.

Indian cinema

Main article: Cinema of India

India contains many state languages which have film industries centered on them. Although Hindi is the official language of government business in northern regions of India, its often-used dialect Hindustani is the most widespread language but covers only 40% of the total population, and English is widely understood irrespective of region, the state languages are preserved for official use by different states in India, and many have as many speakers as an average European nation. Regional industries have also tended to produce a higher percentage of serious art films and political films. Bangladeshi cinema is filmed in Bengali and Sri Lankan cinema is filmed in Sinhala and Tamil.

Nepali cinema

Main article: Cinema of Nepal

Pakistani cinema

Main article: Cinema of Pakistan


Some figures of South Asian cinema




South Asian influence on other film industries

Indonesian cinema

Main article: Cinema of Indonesia

Last but not least is Indonesian cinema. In the beginning, Indonesian cinema grew after World War I, rooted in the Folk Theater Drama called Dardanela. Under Usmar Ismail, Indonesian cinema became the new entertainment from 1950 to 1980. Hundred of film stars were born, such as Citra Dewi (1960), and Tanty Yosepha (1970). Yenny Rachman and Christine Hakim (1980) and Dian Sastro (the late 1990s). Teguh Karya was one of the leading Film directors in Indonesia after the era of Usmar Ismail. Now, with the popularity of television, the film is replaced with electronic cinema which is popular as sinetron. This industry has made the Indian-born producer, Raam Punjabi, a tycoon of sinetron in Indonesia.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ Dickey, Sara; Dudrah, Rajinder Kumar (2012). South Asian Cinemas: Widening the Lens.
  2. ^ a b Teo, Stephen (2013). The Asian Cinema Experience: Styles, Spaces, Theory.
  3. ^ Chaudhuri, Shohini (2005). Contemporary World Cinema: Europe, the Middle East, East Asia and South Asia.
  4. ^ Writer, Guest (2022-08-19). "Gliding Bollywood and Glittering Other South Asian Industries". Asian Movie Pulse. Retrieved 2023-09-06.
  5. ^ "South Indian cinema takes over Bollywood in box office revenues". Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  6. ^ Shabbir, Buraq. "A discussion on Pakistani cinema and its prospects". Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  7. ^ Gooptu, Sharmistha. "Revisiting Bengali films in the 100th year of Indian cinema". The Times of India. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  8. ^ "Satyajit Ray: A Master of World Cinema". Hindustan Times. 2019-07-03. Retrieved 2023-09-05.
  9. ^ "South Indian cinema takes over Bollywood in box office revenues". Retrieved 2023-09-06.