MUMBAI: This month, CNN’s The Screening Room will travel to Mumbai to examine the Bollywood phenomenon, a $10 billion business which boasts audiences far bigger than Hollywood.
Bollywood is famous for its ubiquitous song and dance routines and exotic locations, swapping a Mumbai market for a Swiss mountain-top at a moment’s notice. But India’s Hindi film industry is changing – there are more sophisticated scripts aimed at urban audiences, mushrooming multiplex cinemas and increasing influence of the Indian diaspora in the US, UK and Middle East.
Actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Mira Nair speak to The Screening Room on the developments sweeping the Hindi film industry, and the unique challenges faced by Indian film-makers as they labour over a $10 billion industry, which is indispensable to a national culture which accounts for every sixth person in the world. Bachchan discusses his career and director, Mira Nair blends east and west, casting both Bachchan and Johnny Depp in her forthcoming crossover venture, Shantaram. Shah Rukh Khan, on the other hand, talks about global cinema.
The Screening Room special on Bollywood, opens not in Mumbai, but in the English region of Yorkshire, host of this year’s International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA). At the IIFA event, host of the The Screening Room, Myleene Klass meets Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty.
The show, also, offers global viewers a glimpse of a unique cinema-viewing experience in two contrasting cinemas in Mumbai – the state-of-the art Sun City cinema with its air conditioning, comfortable seats and top quality audio; and the venerable Edward Theatre, where a family spirit has bound some of the city’s poorer workers with the family which has owned the venue for three generations, and a series of enormous ceiling fans battles in vain to cool the audience on the hard wooden seats.