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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
International Bollywood blitz
Hrithik Roshann (left) and Sanjay Dutt (right)
Bollywood is breaking into the European market
By Arts correspondent Jo Episcopo

Some of India's most popular Bollywood film stars have come to London for the opening of the first Indian film to be premiered across three continents.

The film Mission Kashmir opened in London and New York on Thursday and will premiere in Delhi on Friday.

The film looks at life in the troubled Kashmir valley which has been at the centre of a decades-long dispute between India and Pakistan.

Mission Kashmir features four of Bollywood's biggest stars including the current golden boy Hrithik Roshan.

Musical mayhem

It has all the ingredients of a Bollywood blockbuster, an all-singing and all-dancing glamourous cast, with a typical plotline of love, war and revenge.

Kashmir conflict
Some accuse the producers of cashing in on the Kashmir conflict
The film is set over a 10 year period between 1989 and 1999 and looks at the lives of ordinary people who live in this troubled region.

The Indian director has criticised those who say it is a patriotic venture to cash in on the ongoing tension with neighbouring Pakistan.

But the film has its moustachioed villains wearing Pakistani uniforms, and is likely to attract some criticism over its choice of subject and location.

Bollywood strikes

The film's release has been deliberately timed to coincide with Diwali, the most important festival in the Hindu calendar when thousands of movie fans are likely to go to the cinema this weekend.

But in addition the film's premiere in New York and London reflects the growing importance of the overseas market for Bollywood.

India's film industry is the largest in the world, yet while Hindi films are enjoying unprecedented international attention at the moment especially in the UK and America, in India fierce competition from satelite television has left Bollywood's popularity dwindling.

A lot of hope is now being pinned on Mission Kashmir to kick start the cinema-going habit and revive Bollywood's flagging fortunes.

See also:

02 Aug 00 | South Asia
Flashpoint Kashmir: Special Report
22 Sep 00 | South Asia
Thriller unravels Kashmir 'conspiracy'
25 Jun 00 | South Asia
Honours at Bollywood awards
18 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Bollywood dreams of Scotland
11 Apr 00 | South Asia
Gandhi film arouses passions
30 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Bollywood: A class act to follow
19 Nov 99 | South Asia
Filming India's sex secrets
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