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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Disney forges deal with Bollywood
Bollywood star Kareena Kapoor
Indian actress Kareena Kapoor will lend her voice to the first film
Walt Disney is teaming up with a Bollywood film company to make animated movies using the voices of local stars.

It is the first time the entertainment giant has struck a deal to co-produce films in India.

The original animations, to be made in the Hindi language, will be "culturally relevant for the whole world", said Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook.

Yash Raj Films will oversee each production using "an array of local talent", added a statement from Disney.

Spoilt dog

"Animation is a new and rapidly expanding area in India, and the collaboration will bring the very best in story-telling and cutting edge technology together," said Mr Cook.

The first project, with a working title of Roadside Romeo, will be an animation featuring the voices of Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.

The film, which tells the tale of a spoilt dog abandoned on the streets of Mumbai (Bombay), is scheduled for release next year.

According to Yash Chopra of Yash Raj films, one of the oldest names in Indian cinema, it will feature Bollywood-style songs and dancing, as well as "romance, song, dance, comedy - everything".

The company is likely to produce one feature each year, with the emphasis on Indian cultural content.

The BBC's Mumbai business correspondent, Karishma Vaswani, says the push into India is part of Disney's strategy to enter one of the world's most lucrative entertainment markets.

The corporation already operates two TV channels in India, but they are struggling to compete with homegrown broadcasters.

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