Destination India for Hollywood films’ shoot

MUMBAI: The way things are going in Hollywood these days, India has seemed to overtaken Africa as the location of choice for more than a few Hollywood films.

Produced by Brad Pitt and starring Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart was shot in Pune, which was a substitution for Karachi, Pakistan, according to Sheeraz Hasan Founder of What’s more, Owen Wilson has reunited with director Wes Anderson to shoot The Darjeeling Limited in India. And, finally, both George Clooney and Will Smith have indicated that they want to work with the Bollywood film industry on a few future projects.

Incidentally, Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment has already tied up with Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV Motion Pictures to co-produce a CG animation production. Additionally, director M Night Shyamalan’s latest movie – The Happening is being co-produced by UTV and 20th Century Fox. At a video conferencing in Mumbai earlier this year from his office in Philadelphia, Shyamalan had also expressed keen interest in working with Indian stars.

In the United States, Hindi films have been raking in the bucks at the box office. Last year, seven Hindi films were among the 14 foreign language films that grossed over $2 million. Before 2006, only two Hindi films ever made more than $2 million in the same year.

BODVOD Networks, based in New York, has benefited the most from the explosion of interest in Bollywood since it has exclusive rights to popular Indian films from UTV and Adlabs, two of the top studios. Founded three years ago, BODVOD acquires, packages, markets and distributes Bollywood and other South Asian films, as well as TV shows and music on every on-demand media platforms through more than 30 major distribution partners.

As a result, North American cable companies have been making deals with BODVOD by the handful for Bollywood product, particularly in Toronto with Canada’s largest cable provider Rogers Communications, in San Diego and Orange County with Cox Communications, and in Los Angeles for the annual Indian Film Festival, which has Time Warner Cable as a co-sponsor.

Right now, the hit Bollywood films on cable include Deewane Huye Pagal, Lakshya, Chup Chup Ke and Krrish. Later this year, Shah Rukh Khan’s action blockbuster Don will have its premiere along with the New York-based comedy Jaan-E-Mann, and Umrao Jaan – the epic Moghul-era romance starring Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.

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