India’s Foreign Office only recently created a division in charge of developing soft power strategies. Different from the news media approach, India’s current influence on public opinion is based on its growing movie industry. Bollywood plays on a positive perception of India, particularly in the Arab world, says Naila Hamdy, Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo. Entrance to the Arab media came easily given the Indian and Pakistani workers in the Gulf States, but it goes well beyond exporting Bollywood hero figures. Indian studios have started to invest in the Arab region and increase its production capacity. Moreover, there are incredibly successful movies in the Arab world that tell a Bollywood story using well-known Arab actors and Arab-style decors. “I call this ‘Hindustani’,” says Hamdy, “which refers to a widely accepted hybrid culture.”


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