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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Bollywood comes to Cannes
Diana Hayden
Former Miss World Diana Hayden of India in Cannes
By Jo Episcopo in Cannes

When it comes to the various centres of the movie industry around the world, it's Hollywood which makes the most money, has the greatest glamour, and by far the biggest international reach.

By contrast, Bollywood hasn't really made big inroads outside Asia and the Indian diaspora. But the Indian Government wants that to change.

That's why it's launched an ambitious marketing campaign and taken Indian films - both Bollywood and the independent arthouse films - to Cannes, on France's Mediterranean coast, the world's most important film festival.

Overwhelmed

Depanta Mukupanthi, managing director of India's Film Development Council, thinks interest in Indian films is so far looking good.

Cannes film festival
Hoping to raise India's profile at Cannes
"We have been signing business deals while sipping iced coffee and iced tea," he said.

"I'm really overwhelmed by the amount of queries that I'm getting about Indian cinema, and the tremendous interest it has got in this part of the world.

"I think we have not even been able to tap the potential that is lying there for Indian cinema."

Appropriate forum

Information Minister Sushma Swaraj, also in Cannes, believes that if India is to make its mark abroad, then Cannes is crucial.

"This time we thought that if Indian cinema is to be sold to the West, then Cannes is the appropriate forum, where we must participate in an increased way," she explained.

"We were very late, but when we contacted Cannes authorities, they were kind enough to give us a place, though a smaller one. It's a good beginning."

Out on the Croisette, the country's first ever pavilion has been put up to showcase Indian cinema.

Hrithik Roshan
Bollywood megastars such as Hrithik Roshan may find wider audiences
Here, a hundred films are being shown. Potential buyers can come and see the offerings, and directors like Kaizad Gustad, whose film Bombay Boys is being played here, can show their work.

He said: "It's fantastic that India has got its act together. they're literally selling films that they've not necessarily invested in. Some of them aren't even Indian films but made by Indians."

Perfect location

India is not only selling its films at Cannes, but also its country.


Film producers from all over the world can come and shoot in India.

Director Kazaid Gustad
"We have very beautiful shooting locales, as beautiful as Singapore, Hong Kong, Nice, France. People have been seeing this. We have beautiful, natural surroundings," added Mr Gustad.

"Then our labour industry, our skilled people are available, cameramen are available, so with all these facilities, and with beautiful shooting locales, film producers from all over the world can come and shoot in India."

India has one of the biggest movie markets in the world and its potential for growth is estimated at a further 25% over the next five years.

But can it really compete with giants of film like the United States?

Despite India's massive film output and its passion for film, it has never, for example, received an Oscar nomination.

But with its infrastructure in place, certain factors are in their favour.

New technology, like satellite, has opened up the markets to international cinema and, as one Indian film director put it, "if cultural globalisation can bring the burger to India, India can certainly bring their films to the world".


Festival diary

Films in focus

The lowdown

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See also:

09 Mar 01 | South Asia
30 Jun 00 | South Asia
26 Oct 00 | Entertainment
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