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Down under, Bollywood is way up!

September 13, 2004 13:07 IST

The Hindi film industry is popular Down Under too!

Here is proof of the cross-cultural appeal of the Hindi film industry, reports the Sydney Morning Herald: Mitu Bhowmick-Lange, organiser of the Bollywood Masala Film Festival, points out to the increasing number of non-Indians watching Hindi movies, 'Out of the 11,000 people who attended our Bollywood Festival last year in Sydney, 80 per cent were non-Indians.'

This year, the festival opens with choreographer-turned-director Farah Khan's superhit debut film, Main Hoon Naa.

Adrienne McKibbins, executive officer of the Film Critics Circle of Australia, saw 150 Hindi films last year because, though they are not 'technically fabulous', 'they have a vibrancy, an energy... I just don't see elsewhere... And then they have that wonderful music.' 

McKibbins maintains that though Australian movies are technically superior, 'they have no heart,' adding, 'you have this feeling they're not done with passion.' On the other hand, Hindi films, she says, 'have these romantic song numbers. When they're done well, they're so much more erotic than two people sticking tongues down each other's throats. Western audiences are used to sex and expect it, but what these [Hindi] films do is imagine the contact between two people and invent something.'

Meanwhile, director Salim Khan will shoot Tera Saath in Brisbane and Sydney over the next three months, reports the Herald. Starring Rani Mukerji, who plays a Delhi girl, and 24-year-old Sydney resident Asif Khan, the film is about how the Aussie falls in love with Mukerji and rediscovers his roots.

Theatre director Fiona Pulford spiked Twelfth Night, her adapation of William Shakespeare's play, with some Hindi flavour to draw in the audiences: by adding the song-dance-action routine. Pulford has watched over 250 Hindi films.

The Hindi film industry earlier influenced fellow Aussie, Baz Luhrmann, who made Moulin Rouge. The film starred Nicole Kidman and Ewan MacGregor. More recently, acclaimed composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted the song-and-dance formula to great success at London's West End and New York's Broadway with Bombay Dreams.

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