i am not sure if this is such a big culture shock. there have been artsy-leaning hindi films for a long time that have done reasonably well, or so i think. not that i am an expert, but i mean films like 'aakrosh', 'garam hava', 'albert pinto ko kyon gussa aata hai?', 'ankur', 'manthan', etc. these are not as arty as, say 'aashadh ka ek din', 'bhuvan shome', 'suraj ka satvan ghoda', 'uski roti', etc.
anyway, the la times' take on this phenomenon.