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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 19:22 GMT
Theatre hosts Bollywood festival
Mayur Raj Verma
Raj said he was keen to show Bollywood to Gwynedd audiences
The glitz and glamour of the Indian film industry will be introduced to audiences in Gwynedd this week.

Bollywood actor Mayur Raj Verma, now living in Dolgellau, masterminded the event after he realised, he said, Wales was losing out on opportunities.

Raj, as he is known, hopes the event will lead to Bollywood films being shot on location in the area.

The festival at Theatr Harlech includes cookery demonstrations, a hit film and a music and dance show.

Raj decided to move to Dolgellau to help bring a "good balance" between family and work.

The newly-opened folk music centre Ty Siamas and easy links to various theatres was another factor.

"As a professional actor I've always been to places that were too crowded, always with lots of people around," he said.

The perception of Wales, outside of Wales, is as somewhere you go after retirement, or on holiday

As well as his wife and two young children, his mother Sneh Lata Verma, a film producer and director, is living with them.

"The perception of Wales, outside of Wales, is as somewhere you go after retirement, or on holiday," said Raj.

"But where in the world would you get the mountains, the sea, the landscape? There is everything here."

He said he realised however that young people were leaving for job opportunities, and he wanted to help.

"It is very important that young people are encouraged and inspired," he said.

Bollywood had "gone global" he said and there was a constant need for exotic locations.

"They come to the Lake District but not to Wales.

"If it does come here however it will be huge."

Hema Hossain - Dance Teacher
Children from the area are put through their dance paces

Raj said the festival was a big task and he was unsure of what to expect.

"I'm not expecting hundreds of people to turn up, I'm happy to start small and build it up."

His said his focus was in Wales, despite having jetted to India and New York twice for work commitments in the past month.

"My child has started school here now.

"I can go to the local shop and buy a paper. They treat me like everyone else. It's a lovely feeling," he added.

The Bollywood Festival runs from 27-29 February at Theatr Harlech.

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