Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 159-166

Portrayal of alcohol in Bollywood movies: A mixed methods study

National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ravindra Rao
4096, Department of Psychiatry, Teaching Block, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_294_19

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Introduction: Exposure to alcohol in popular movies during adolescence is associated with higher rates of alcohol use. We aimed to assess the extent and pattern of depiction of alcohol in Bollywood movies, and to analyze the trends in portrayal of alcohol over three decades selected for the study. Materials and Methods: We selected the top five grossing movies for each year of the three decades selected (1961–1970; 1981–1990; and 2001–2010). Content analysis was conducted for each scene depicting alcohol in the movie. We compared quantitative variables across the three decades to assess for any changes in the portrayal of alcohol and performed qualitative content analysis for the text description of the context, in which alcohol was depicted in each movie. Results: Of the total 150 movies analyzed, 135 (90%) movies contained at least one scene depicting alcohol. Alcohol scenes comprised 7% of the total movie time. Majority of the scenes (92.2%, n = 976) showed the substance (alcohol) itself. Spirits were the most common alcohol beverages depicted (75.1%, n = 733). Only 7.9% of scenes (n = 84) depicted alcohol brands. About 67% (n = 709) of scenes showed characters consuming alcohol or appeared intoxicated. Most scenes portrayed hero (n = 253, 35.7%) consuming alcohol. Female characters were depicted in 7.5% (n = 53) alcohol scenes. The third decade (2001–2010) had the least proportion of scenes depicting Spirits and the highest proportion of scenes depicting beer and wine. Decade three also had the most proportion of scenes set in clubs, bars, discotheques or restaurants, scenes with characters of “positive” shade depicting alcohol use, and the scenes portraying heroine with alcohol use. Conclusion: There is an increasing trend toward alcohol depiction by positive characters for fun and relaxation, and toward depiction of low-concentration alcohol such as beer in recent decades. The impact of changing trend of alcohol depiction on the Indian viewers, especially young audience, needs further study.



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