When Akshay Kumar makes his journey on Friday to China as the bumbling policeman, it will be a milestone for a traveller of another kind –– Hollywood’s deepest foray into the Hindi cinema heartland.
Akshay Kumar’s Chandni Chowk to China, funded by Warner Brothers, marks the first venture by a Hollywood studio in a big-star Bollywood film. It is one of several ventures planned by big American companies in India, including Fox and Sony BMG. With more than four billion tickets sold for Hindi films worldwide last year, it was an inevitable journey.
“Whatever the colour of the skin, in the end what matters is the colour of money,” said Rohan Sippy, producer of Chandni Chowk to China.
One of the biggest signs of change was at the Juhu office of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, whose company has signed up with Sony BMG for its next production, Raaz: The Mystery Continues. “American companies have realised the US market is getting saturated, while there is huge untapped potential here,” Bhatt said.
“If Slumdog Millionaire can, I don’t see why Chandni Chowk to China cannot cross over to traditional audiences,” said Ram Mirchandani, CEO of UTV Rampage Motion Pictures, which has co-produced Hollywood films like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening.