The Progress and Setbacks of Bollywood: An AI-Powered Study
Bollywood, India's thriving Hindi film industry, is known for its extravagant productions, larger-than-life stars, and loyal fanbase. However, the industry has also been criticized for promoting regressive and harmful stereotypes, including misogyny, colorism, and gender biases. In order to explore these biases, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted an AI-driven study of dialogue from hundreds of Bollywood films released over the past 70 years.
Using automated language-processing tools, the researchers analyzed subtitles from 100 of the biggest commercial hits from each decade, from 1950 to 2020. The study found that while
Bollywood is biased, so is Hollywood, although on most counts, a little less. Moreover, both industries have seen a steady reduction in social biases over the past seven decades.
The study's results shed light on a number of issues, including India's preference for sons and the sentiment around social evils like dowry. The researchers found that the number of boys born in films declined from 74% in the 1950s and 60s to 54% in the 2000s, but the gender ratio was still skewed. The study also found that Bollywood and Hollywood both exhibit a preference for lighter skin, and that representation of other religions has increased in recent years, but that Muslims, India's largest minority, remain underrepresented.
While the study highlights some of the persistent biases in Bollywood and Hollywood, it also suggests that both industries have made progress in reducing harmful stereotypes over time. Moreover, the researchers believe that AI and machine learning can help filmmakers identify and challenge social biases in their work, creating more inclusive and representative films for audiences around the world.
As India's film industry continues to evolve and grow, it is important for filmmakers, actors, and audiences to reflect on the social impact of their work and strive to create more equitable and empowering representations of diverse communities. By using AI to analyze and challenge biases in the industry, we can create a brighter, more inclusive future for Bollywood and beyond.