There’s been a great amount of discussion directed at the rise of entertainment from the Korea Republic garnering a hefty audience in the UK. You could trace it back to Psy’s Gangnam Style from 2012, which proved to be somewhat of a trailblazer for the likes of BTS and Fifty Fifty to follow to chart success.
On the small and big screen, shows and movies like The Host, Parasite, Train to Busan, The Silent Sea, Squid Game, The Uncanny Counter, and Kingdom have all earned a British following. Now, the next country to fully break into the British entertainment mainstream might just be India.
Indian music is more familiar than many may know
On any given day, on the YouTube GB trending charts, under the Music tab, you’re bound to see a handful of Indian tracks charting very well, often with millions of views, alongside UK, US, and often Korean tracks. While YouTube isn’t the be-all and end-all of popular music, it does use some localisation for these charts, so it speaks to the popularity of Indian music in the UK.
Nearly ten per cent of the UK’s population is Asian or Asian British, but that only offers a 5.4 million audience, not all of which will be of Indian heritage. Still, the rest of the British public will have heard or may even still be listening to Indian-made music without knowing it. Sampling from Indian tracks has long been popular and has led to many pop chart hits.
Panjabi MC and Jay Z put out Beware the Boys, and Jay Z returned to the Indian well with Kanye West for The Bounce, which sampled Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai by Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun. Another big hit from an Indian song sample was Black Eyed Peas’ Don’t Phunk with My Heart, which draws from a song in the 1972 movie Apradh. Closer to home, Chase & Status also sampled a movie track. This time, the movie was 2002’s Devdas for the song Eastern Jam.
More than music raising the profile of Indian entertainment in the UK
It’s said that the original wave started in the 1980s, which saw particularly Punjabi music take off in the UK, but with the Indian diaspora gravitating more towards North America since the UK market has become a bit less important. That might just be changing, though, with Indian music being given a greater spotlight thanks to online platforms and other creations becoming much more accessible.
More subtly than a song, movie, or TV show, Indian games have made it to the roulette online. Nestled in amongst European roulette, Lightning Roulette, Live Roulette XL, and 10p Roulette Live, you’ll spot Hindi Roulette. Set in a studio with traditional Indian décor and host attire, the Evolution Gaming creation has become popular at the UK online casino for its unique theme and immersive real-time gaming.
Further promoting Indian content across entertainment this year was the surprise hit RRR. Straight out of Tollywood, the action musical managed to land third in the UK charts in its first week, climbing ahead of Uncharted but just clocking in below Ambulance to make around US$1.2 million on release. Like with Korean-made movies and TV shows, RRR might just prove to be a catalyst for more hits to come.
With entertainment from overseas being made more accessible than ever before, and given the amount produced by the country each year, it seems likely that India will, one day, enjoy another wave in the UK.