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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Bollywood moves with the times
Bollywood film shoot
Bollywood: the world's "largest film industry"
Bollywood film-makers are to tackle more contemporary and controversial issues to try and appeal to a new generation of cinema-goers.

Indian producers and directors, in what is reported to be the biggest film industry in the world, are responding to the internet revolution with scripts considered untouchable five years ago.


The youth of today want novelty, not the same old stuff

Producer Pahlaj Nihalani

Extra-marital affairs and political issues such as the division of the Indian sub-continent are being covered in scripts for the first time.

"The youth of today want novelty, not the same old stuff," said leading film producer Pahlaj Nihalani.

"They are our biggest market."

New films have tackled subject matter ranging from an unwed mother and a live-in relationship to a woman's extra-marital affair.

"I think the biggest change is the way films have started dealing with relationships. It has become more natural and realistic," said Anupama Chopra, a film critic for the weekly magazine India Today.

Juhi Chawla and Akshay Kumar
Juhi Chawla and Akshay Kumar: Stars in Bollywood
India's film industry produces 750 to 800 films annually, with Bollywood responsible for about 150 titles.

Traditionally, Bollywood fare has relied on formulaic plots with sweet love affairs and plenty of singing and dancing.

But last year, Hey Ram, a film by leading actor and director Kamal Hassan, tackled the subcontinent's division into India and Pakistan in 1947, a theme many producers have avoided.

"There is no use hiding issues any more," said Komal Nahta, editor of trade magazine Film Information.

"You've got to give people what they want," he added.

Film-makers are also reacting to the needs of the millions of Indians who live abroad.

Last year India's earning from film exports almost doubled to 60m, according to the Economic Times newspaper.

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