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Mumbai-raised director's Obama's America enters US Top 10

Last updated on: August 27, 2012 13:30 IST

The 2016 Obama's America posterMumbai-raised director Dinesh D'Souza's new film 2016 Obama's America has stepped into the top 10 charts in North America.

A fiercely anti-Obama docudrama directed by Mumbai-raised conservative and Christian writer Dinesh D'Souza jumped over the weekend into the top 10 in North America with an estimated $6.2 million.

The movie, 2016 Obama's America shot in Kenya, Indonesia and America, is attracting large audiences with hardly any advertising in mainstream publications. It opened in just one theatre in the ultra-conservative state of Texas over three weeks ago and then expanded to 169 locations two weeks later. Now, it is in 1,091 theatres.

With the Republican political convention set to start this week, the distributor of the film, the small-time Rocky Mountain, went nationwide, reaching thousands through conservative church organisations and conservative radio talk shows.

Box office observers believe the film, which cost about $5 million to produce, and is based on two books by D'Souza, would earn at least $30 million, making it one of the most profitable films of the year.

It has already grossed about $9.5 million and was the number nine film in America in a week of underperforming films, with the highest grossing weekend film The Expendables 2 earning about $13.5 million.

D'Souza turned to extreme conservative ideology during his college years at Dartmouth over 25 years ago.

The film draws heavily from his own life, as he describes how coming to study in America from India helped to shape his political ideology.

D'Souza, who hates liberals and leftists anywhere, also points out the similarities between his upbringing and Obama's.

He based part of the film on his book The Roots of Obama's Rage in which he argued that Obama's father was a socialist and Obama is working towards fulfilling his father's dreams including the downsizing of America and turning into a socialist and third world state (apparently synonymous in his view).

The book was roundly criticised by many political observers and even some conservatives for being too far fetched. It became, nevertheless, a national bestseller for over a month.

"In my new book, Obama's America: The Unmaking of an American Dream, I am looking at the possible scenario of Obama fulfilling his goal if he is elected the second time," D'Souza said.

The writer, who directed the film with a newcomer, John Sullivan, also said their film was thoroughly researched and was a timely warning to America.

D'Souza interviewed Obama's grandmother and his half brother in Kenya. While the former lives comfortably, the latter is living in a slum, waiting to save some money to study to be a mechanic.

The director, who said he would not have missed an opportunity to show the world how millionaire Obama neglected even his own family, gave George Obama some $2,000.

"It was not a big deal," he said. "Though I appealed to the public to make donations, I put in much of that money myself. I knew it would not cost him a fortune to study to be a mechanic. I have lived in Mumbai and I know these things don't require a huge amount of money."

D'Souza said he was driven to make the film by the example of the ultra liberal Michael Moore but quickly pointed out that his own film was not sensational like Moore's anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

Arthur J Pais in New York