Zilch in Cannes? India is still hot: Amritraj | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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Zilch in Cannes? India is still hot: Amritraj

While Bollywood may have failed to put up even a single blockbuster on Cannes list, the future is "bright", says frontline Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj.

entertainment Updated: May 20, 2008 14:08 IST

While Bollywood may have failed to put up even a single blockbuster on Cannes list, the world was increasingly interested in India's cinematic products and the future was "bright", frontline Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj has said.

The "over-abundance of money" in Indian entertainment space was a "good sign", Amritraj noted, even as he cautioned that such expansion would be meaningless if a "new generation of filmmakers" was not built by "established players".

Discussing Indian cinema's global aspirations at a seminar 'The world is not enough', organised in the India Pavilion, Amritraj, who is also the Hyde Park Entertainment chairman and CEO said: "Every major Hollywood studio has set up shop in India.

"They have already paid a few dollars to get in and hopefully they will spend a few dollars more in the years ahead," he said.

However, it would now be important for Indian films to make the next big leap and enter the traditional spaces for American movies, the producer of over 90 Hollywood films suggested. "I can already see that happening. The future of Indian cinema is bright," he said.

The eminent filmmaker felt that "the over-abundance of money in the Indian entertainment space was a good sign, but today's established players have the responsibility of building a new generation of filmmakers."

If that doesn't happen, the rapid expansion would be meaningless, he said.

Veteran British film critic Derek Malcolm, however, felt that "it was a scandal that no Indian film manages to make the Cannes cut year after year."

The sceptical critic of London's The Evening Standard advised the optimists on the panel not to be "so smugly self-congratulatory".

India, he felt, "has fallen off the global map of good cinema."

Meanwhile, Nigel Glynn-Davies, CEO of the London-based bollywood.Tv, an online distributor of Indian films, echoed Amritraj's perceptions: "It is really important to get Indian films out into the world market. Believe me, they are good enough to be able to hold their own in the long run."

Patrick Frater of Variety magazine said that India's showbiz was poised on the threshold of exponential growth.

"In every conceivable space - films, television, new distribution platforms, use of the Internet - there is room for tremendous growth in India, growth of the kind that no other country in the world can match."

No wonder, he added, the major global players were making a beeline for India.

Adding to the discussion, Amritraj said: "Over the next two years, my endeavour will be to build a platform to facilitate greater cinematic engagement between India and the US." He added that his latest film had "a very strong Indian component."

Amritraj's latest production The Other End of the Line, screened in the Cannes Film Market two days ago, deals with call centre employee, played by Shriya Saran, who travels to San Francisco to meet a man she has fallen in love with over the phone.

Besides a clutch of Hollywood actors, notably Jes se Metcalfe, the film has Anupam Kher and Tara Sharma in the cast.