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Monday, 29 April, 2002, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
Bollywood greats gather for festival
Jonathan Ross with dancers Ishrat Shan and Karishma Kotak
Jonathan Ross launched the event
Five Bollywood greats are to perform for the first time at outdoor shows in Manchester and London.

Amitabh Bachchan will join Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Preity Zinta for the From India With Love shows at Old Trafford football stadium on 29 June and Hyde Park on 30 June.

The organisers say the only comparable Hollywood equivalent would be if Sean Connery, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan were assembled for the same show.

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan has been in 100 movies
The Bollywood stars have made 200 films between them and even have temples dedicated to them in some parts of India, where film dialogue is recited in the form of prayer.

The festival, a mixture of dance and music, with lavish costumery, will be seen by up to 115,000 people.

Amir Khan said: "It is going to be a fantastic occasion and a great opportunity to bring the very best of Indian cinema to such a wide audience."

Khan said he felt the industry was "finally attracting the kind of recognition that it deserves".

The three-hour showcases will delight Greater Manchester's large Asian community, as well as a new generation of Bollywood fans in the capital.

Indian summer

Also featuring are the cast of cricket-themed hit musical Lagaan, which along with Monsoon Wedding has helped drive the current enthusiasm for the genre.

Jonathan Ross, a big fan of Bollywood films, helped launch From India with Love.

Bachchan is one of the biggest stars in Indian cinema topping a BBC News Online poll in 1999 as the greatest star of stage and screen of the millennium, ahead of Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Alec Guinness.

Also contributing to the Indian summer are events at Selfridges in London and Manchester, with several film sets erected at the department stores by Nitin Desai, set designer for Salaam Bombay and the Oscar-nominated Lagaan.

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

Major exhibition

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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