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Playing in Egypt after 25 years: Bollywood returns

entertainment Updated: Oct 04, 2013 01:27 IST
Shah Rukh Khan

With Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Chennai Express” ending the 25-year-old box office drought of Indian movies in Egypt, distributors here are confident that Bollywood would bring much needed boost to the country’s film market affected by recent political crisis.

“Chennai Express”, one of the highest grossing films in India, hit Egyptian theatres in Cairo and Alexandria on Wednesday evening with Arabic subtitles. United Motion Pictures, Gaurang Films and the Indian Embassy in Cairo facilitated the release.

In its initial run, the film is being screened in 8 theatres in Cairo and 2 in Alexandria. It will be followed by other mega releases such as Hrithik Roshan’s sci-fi movie “Krissh 3” and Aamir Khan starrer heist drama “Dhoom 3”.

During the last 25-years no Bollywood film released except for SRK’s “My Name Is Khan” in 2009 which was brought in Egypt by distributer Antoine Zeind.

Zeind believes that such releases will not only help Egyptian reconnect with Bollywood after a long gap but will also boost the market, facing decline due to the political climate in the country.

Egypt has been gripped by political turmoil since the overthrow of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and later under its first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi’s term was plagued by political uncertainty and violence in a deeply polarised country that ultimately led to his ouster by the powerful military on July 3 following mass protests against his rule.

Zeind, however, is not worried about his investment in Indian movies.

“People are not used to American movies. They will like Indian movies in no time just like they took up Turkish serials,” he said.

He is also not worried about security keeping people away from movie theaters, which has affected movie releases here.

“The success of ‘My name is Khan’ was remarkable enough for us to keep trying,” he added.

There was much enthusiasm in public as well.

Mustafa and his fiancee Lubna decided to make “Chennai Express” the first film that they watched together. Mustafa was brought up on a diet of Indian movies by his parents.