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Thursday, 21 June, 2001, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Bollywood aims for global success
Bollywood
Bollywood makes around 800 films a year
A delegation from Bollywood has travelled to America to persuade investors it can become a global force in the movie industry.

Officials from India's film, television and music industry are spreading the message that they can become international players.

The delegation is headed by information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj.

The president of the Motion Pictures Association of America, Jack Valenti, met with the group as they visited various studios in Los Angeles.

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan is one of Bollywood's biggest stars
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 increase its market share of $3.5bn in a $300bn industry.

There are just 12 cinemas per million people in Indian compared to 116 per million in America.

Verbal agreements

At the US-India Business Council conference there were warnings that India had to change some of its practices if is to achieve global recognition.

One of the main stumbling blocks according to Nishith Desai, founder of a legal and tax consulting firm which presented a paper called Bollywood v Bollywood, is its attitude to contracts.

The industry operates on verbal agreements or short, vague contracts.

He said: "The lack of written contracts is probably one of the foremost reasons why Hollywood and Bollywood remain separated.

Potential

"Due to this informal practice, the players are often not conscious of their commitments and obligations."

Consultancy firm Arthur Andersen has said the Indian entertainment industry has the potential to grow but stressed the government and the state-controlled media needed to contribute.

The industry hopes to mirror the success of the information technology sector which has become a major world player.

Ms Swaraj believes the Indian and US industry can work together and pool resources as it has done with technology.

She said: "We can think of collaborations and FDI (foreign direct investment).

"We can talk of co-productions. We can learn a lot from US expertise in technology and at the same time offer world-class trained personnel at very competitive costs."

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