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Wednesday, 13 February, 2002, 17:12 GMT
Bollywood's hopes for Oscar dollars
Lagaan has been nominated for a foreign film Oscar
Lagaan has been nominated for a foreign film Oscar
Indian film Lagaan has been shortlisted for an Oscar in the foreign film category, raising Bollywood hopes that Indian films will become more popular in the US.

Success in the foreign film category can bring rich rewards to non-American film makers and this is only the second time in 40 years that an Indian film has been nominated in this category.

Bombay's movie industry makes around 800 films each year, compared to America's 100, making it the most prolific film-producing country in the world.

But it desperately wants to boost its share of the $300bn global film market from just 3.5bn currently.

Lagaan tells the story of a group of poor farmers who challenge their British colonial rulers to a game of cricket, in order to escape a land tax.

Cartoon book based on Lagaan film
Lagaan has already been incredibly popular
The film has so-far only appealed to specialised audiences, and grossed about $2m in North America and the UK.

Even if Lagaan does not win the Oscar, the nomination is a "step in the right direction," Taran Adarsh, editor of the Trade Guide, a weekly movie magazine in India, told the BBC's World Business Report.

The move should encourage Indian film producers to "aim for the international audience" and could also increase the numbers of co-productions.

"We could have the labour, the manpower from India...use the technical brilliance of the West and come up with products that appeal to the world," he said.

Irfan Ajeeb from the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Britain, questioned the impact the film would have.

He admitted that there are certain artists in India that can work in the Western film industry, but told the BBC's World Business Report that 'crossover appeal' is some ten to 15 years away.

Taran Adarsh, editor of the Trade Guide
"It is a step in the right direction"
Irfan Ajeeb
"It is about box office rupees"
See also:

12 Feb 02 | Oscars 2002
Oscars 2002: The nominees
06 Feb 02 | Film
Bollywood goes to LA
27 Nov 01 | Film
Bollywood eyes Afghan market
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