Adding Variety to life
There's more. For the last two years now, Variety's special issue for Cannes International Film Festival has regularly devoted considerable newsprint to a section entitled, Bollywood Spotlight.
Of course, it is a win win situation for both parties. For each page of write-up, there's a full page advert on the facing page. Which means that while the ndustry gets talked about in the right places, the fine print of the entertainment Bible becomes self-paying.
Manjulaa Negi caught up with Shalini Dore, the Consultant Editor devoted to Bollywood Spotlight in Variety, Cannes Special 2004, to find out why Bollywood was singled out for the focus. Excerpts from the interview:
What prompted the Spotlight to turn to Bollywood?
It just seemed a natural progression from Variety's coverage of India and Bollywood. We review Indian films, we write about news from Indian media, this was the logical next step.
And actually we did a Bollywood special report at Cannes last year and that was very well received. We also did a special report on India, that focused on film and TV in the whole country to coincide with Frames in March 2004.
Which aspects of the industry did you choose to highlight?
Since we had already covered the song-and-dance aspect of Bollywood in the past as well as introduced those of our readers who are unfamiliar with it with
Bombay film industry's history etc., we chose to focus on what's new - the export market, how bold Bollywood is becoming etc.
Was the supplement dedicated solely to the Bombay film industry or takes into account Indian cinema as a whole?
We focused on the Hindi film industry since that's what Bollywood is. At least that's the way we separate Bollywood from all other cinemas in India - that it's the Hindi film industry and even in that it's not the arty movies of the Shyam Benegal kind.
It was a strange year to bring out a supplement dedicated to Bollywood, considering that the Indian film presence was rather low (virtually non-existent) this year at Cannes. How come?
Well, you know we have a story on the film presence in Cannes and as you can see from the special we don't only take into account the films in the competition but also the film market.
From what I've seen from Cannes the Indian have quite a big presence at the market, this year they took more spaces than in the past. As Variety is a trade publications, the business of show business is very important to us.
Are the Hindi films popular only among the non-residents Indians or has the craze begun to generate curiosity among other communities as well?
So far the appeal is only among the NRI crowd. Outsiders do watch Hindi movies, but the number is really small compared to the Indian diaspora. There is a greater number in the UK than in the US.
For the first time that any of us can remember the New York Times actually reviewed Yuva, a Hindi film on the day it opened here last week. (And that's saying a lot!)
The rise in better subtitling helps (I say, better because we still have instances when the subtitles says incomprehensible things like "He's chewing my head," a literal translation from the Hindi (Main Hoon Na).
Is Variety planning to include Bollywood on a regular basis or was it a one off special edition for Cannes?
We'll definitely do the Bollywood spotlight in Cannes and the India special report in connection with Frames in March.