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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Made but not seen in Wales
Bollywood film location in Wales graphic
by BBC Wales's Ashok Ahir

Bollywood, the home of Indian cinema and the world's biggest film industry, has finally discovered the beauty of Wales.

Indian film-makers traditionally use various European locations as the back-drop for all-singing all-dancing musical love scenes - Austria, France and more recently Scotland are usually the favourite stopping off points.

Aberystwyth Castle
Romancing the stone: Aberystwyth Castle

But this week an Indian crew is enjoying the sights of mid Wales while filming Mein Dil Tujhko Diya - I Gave You my Heart.

The film which stars Sohail Khan and Chinta Nakshtra Reddy is shooting at Aberystwyth Castle, Mwnt and the Elan Valley Estate.

The Mid Wales Film Commission which has worked hard to attract Indian film companies, believes the locations will be as exotic to the people of India as locations in India would be to people from Britain.

Mike Wallwork of the Mid Wales Film Commission has said he hopes this "will be the first of many Bollywood films to come to mid Wales".

Box office top 10

But while, Bollywood may be here in force, the distributors of Bollywood movies seem to be giving Wales a miss.

Lagaan - Taxes - is a new blockbuster enticing cinema audiences, but not this time from Hollywood. It is a production from the prolific studios of Mumbai.

It has been packing cinemas nationwide, becoming the first Hindi-language to enter the UK Box Office Top 10 in its opening week and winning rave reviews from critics.

Set during the time of the Raj, it tells the story of a group of Indian farmers who are told they will not have to pay a crippling land tax if they can beat the local British garrison at cricket.

Bombay or Mumbai
Gateway to India: Bombay

Aamir Khan, star and producer of Lagaan hopes the film will follow the success of the Mandarin Chinese Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in persuading a mainstream audience to pay to see a subtitled Asian film adding " I'd like the British audience to see an Indian film in its pure form.

Undiluted, unedited, the way an Indian film is.

But, a shortage of prints means that six weeks after its British release, the film still has not been screened in any of the many multiplexes now popping up across Wales.

This week, the nearest place to see it, is at the UCI in Telford in Shropshire.

UCI Cinemas have traditionally screened at least one Bollywood film a week at their multiplex in Cardiff Bay, but now even that is a rare occurrence.

Pulling power

A UCI spokesman told BBC News Online, problems with distribution meant it was getting harder to get hold of the prints and that cinemas in different cities were scrapping for the chance to screen the film, as demand outstripped supply.

Currently, there are no cinemas in north and west Wales screening Bollywood films though many off them do screen foreign-language films.

One cinema, the small Galaxy Globe Cinema in Roath in Cardiff, has been trying to buck the trend by becoming the first specialist Bollywood cinema in Wales, but with only one screen it does not have the pulling power of the large multiplexes when it comes to distribution.

Though when it did get its hand on a copy of Lagaan for one week early last month every showing was a sell-out.

Lagaan is not the first Bollywood film to do well in Britain. Its big summer rival Yaadein also entered the UK top 10 this week.

Not unusual for such film to do well in the UK. What is more unusual is their wide appear to non-Hindi audiences.

But, obviously there is a lot of hard work to be done in Wales, before Bollywood finally adds a touch of glamour to all our lives.

See also:

25 Jul 01 | Film
Cash boost for Bollywood
26 Jun 01 | South Asia
Bollywood breaks the mould
04 Aug 01 | Scotland
Indian blockbuster comes to Govan
04 Jul 00 | Wales
Bollywood arrives in Wales
16 Nov 00 | Entertainment
UK tempts Bollywood
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