- Published: Friday, 24 July 2020 01:21
Both are massive movie production hubs, and both are very popular in parts of the world, but Hollywood and Bollywood movies are very different. Primarily because one embodies the artistry of the United States while the other draws from India’s many cultures, there are stark differences between movies from both despite the often playing into the same themes.
One such theme is that of gambling. While gambling is mostly centered on gambling games these days, the act of gambling doesn’t require dice or cards. People gamble all the time when making tricky decisions with the aim of reaping maximum rewards, which allows the games that embody this part of human life to relay much more than just the outcome of the hand or roll.
The theme itself, the activities, and some plot lines are very similar between Hollywood and Bollywood movies, and yet, gambling is used very differently.
Bollywood’s Games of the People
Bollywood puts out more movies than Hollywood each year, with there being many that tap into the themes of gambling and casinos. Chief among these movies are Teen Patti, which features the titular card game, Striker and its use of carrom, and Jannat. In each of them, gambling games are primarily portrayed as games of the people, used to overcome their obstacles.
In Teen Patti, a maths professor seeks to prove his theories, using the Indian card game to do so. In Striker, the protagonist goes through the classic gambler’s tale of losing it all before needing to overcome all odds and their inner demons to triumph. In Jannat, the fifth-highest grossing film of its year, according to Box Office figures, card games are used to develop the character and give him a base of being street smart and savvy before seeking his fortune.
The essence of gambling games, particularly card games, being enjoyed by the people and a way to success for ordinary people in movies derives from the culture’s love of card games. Just go to any modern gaming platform, such as Comeon India, and you’ll see that among the most popular games are the likes of live blackjack, 2 Hand Casino Hold’em, and Jumbo 7 Jackpot. The games are enjoyed by millions, and so movie creators can play into the fondness and familiarity.
Hollywood’s Games To Be Defeated
Where in Bollywood gambling becomes a thread of familiarity used to strike a bond with the viewer, Hollywood uses the glitz and glam of popular gambling cities like Las Vegas as a contrast to the underdog.
Ocean’s Eleven is a fine example of this, with an all-star cast coming together for an elaborate casino heist to exact revenge. In the movie 21, which is based on a true story, a team of university students assemble to strategically siphon money out of casinos through the game of blackjack. In Casino, one of Martin Scorcese’s best films, according to Rolling Stone, a slightly different approach was taken that shows the same lines of thinking. The 1995 movie looks directly at the gangsters running the casino with it all getting out of hand due to the acts of a mob enforcer.
Bollywood leans towards putting gambling games in the hands of everyday heroes as a tool. In contrast, Hollywood likes to pose them and gambling institutions as a shimmering giant to achieve the underdog tale.