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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Film legend promotes Bollywood
Amitabh Bachchan has a waxwork dummy at Madame Tussands
Amitabh Bachchan has a waxwork dummy at Madame Tussands
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is to be guest of honour at a gala event to help promote Indian cinema in the UK.

The actor will launch 23 1/2 Days of Bollywood, which starts on 2 May at Selfridges stores in London and Manchester.

Several film sets will be erected at the department stores by Nitin Desai, set designer for Indian movies including Salaam Bombay and the Oscar-nominated Laagan.

Amitabh Bachchan
Bachchan hosted India's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
The events will include appearances by Bollywood stars, along with dance performances, film screenings, fashion shows, interviews and discussions with Indian authors.

Bachchan is one of the biggest stars in Indian cinema, having appeared in more than 100 movies over the last three decades.

'Angry young man'

In a BBC News Online poll in 1999, he was voted the greatest star of stage and screen of the millennium, ahead of Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Alec Guinness.

He became particularly known in the 1970s for thrillers like Deewar and Zanjeer, and was dubbed India's first "angry young man".

He played mainly violent anti-heroes, and was admired by women for his handsome looks and deep voice.

Lloyd Webber's new musical is Bombay Dreams
Lloyd Webber's new musical is Bombay Dreams
He has a huge fan base. When he was seriously injured during the filming of his 1983 movie Coolie, thousands of fans kept vigil outside his hospital and millions more prayed for his recovery.

After a temporary retirement from movies, and a short-lived attempt at politics, he became the presenter on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?


Bollywood movies are increasingly popular outside India.

Laagan, a 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, was nominated for best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

Bombay's movie industry produces about 800 films each year, making India the most prolific film-producing country in the world.

The V&A will host a Bollywood exhibition in June
The V&A will host a Bollywood exhibition in June
Andrew Lloyd Webber is also launching his latest West End musical, Bombay Dreams, in June and has promised to include the visual imagery of Bollywood musicals.

Lloyd Webber has collaborated with film director Shekhar Kapur, the man behind the Elizabeth movie, as well as comedian Meera Syal and Bollywood soundtrack composer AR Rahman.

Also this summer, the first major UK exhibition of posters and hoardings from Indian cinema will go on display at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood, which starts on 26 June, will show the history of Indian film posters from the 1950s through to the present day.

See also:

06 Apr 02 | Film
Lagaan scoops Bollywood awards
21 Mar 02 | Film
Bollywood goes on display
06 Feb 02 | Film
Bollywood goes to LA
20 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Wax debut for Bollywood star
01 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Bollywood star tops the poll
31 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Indian cinemas are Millionaire losers
15 Jul 99 | South Asia
Bollywood superstar 'surprised' by vote
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