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Britain and Bollywood

Now Britain is going to Bollywood, and that's official.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2003 21:27 IST

Now Britain is going to Bollywood, and that's official.

A major drive is being launched to encourage more Anglo-Indian movies, widen distribution of Indian and British films, and tackle issues of piracy.

The British Film Council will this week use Frames, the entertainment industry's premier convention in Asia, to launch a major drive to increase cooperation with Bollywood in areas including film production, distribution, infrastructure and tackling the growing problem of film piracy.

Frames will be held in Mumbai for three days beginning Friday and will include a series of seminars and panel discussions.

Like Britain, India is a major centre of both film production and cinema lovers. Apart from using Frames to build on existing good relationship between the Indian and British film industries, the Film Council has identified areas where both countries can benefit from closer working between the two industries.

Items on the agenda include:

- Increasing audiences for Indian and British films distributed in each other's country. The Film Council-backed "Bend It Like Beckham" has so far grossed a million dollars in India, taking $371,000 in its opening weekend - more than "Star Wars Episode II".

- Increasing the number of Indian locations used in British films and vice versa. Past examples include award-winning film "The Warrior", filmed in Rajasthan and the Himalayas, "Mohabbatein" (filmed in Warminster, Bath and Oxford) and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" that used six British locations).

- Stepping up collaboration between film industry professionals and encouraging the creation of more Anglo-Indian films that have global appeal.

- Discussing new ways to tackle piracy to reduce economic losses. The British film industry loses around $600 million and the Indian industry around $66 million a year to global film piracy.

Speaking in advance of Frames' opening in Mumbai, British Film Commissioner Steve Norris, who heads the Film Council's international department, said: "Closer working relationships between the British and Indian film industries offer a huge number of benefits and opportunities for both our countries.

"The Indian film industry is becoming more global in its outlook than ever before. Closer links between our two countries will mean that we can get more British films into India and more Indian filmmakers to film in Britain."

Said Norris: "As well as boosting both film industries there are far wider benefits to be gained from closer cooperation. It is well known that commercial Indian films shot in Britain have been responsible for an increase in Indian tourists to Britain and vice versa."

Speakers from the Film Council include Norris, Robert Jones, head of the Premiere Fund that was created to back British films that offer quality and entertainment to the widest possible audiences in Britain and worldwide; and Jenny Borgars, head of the Development Fund that aims to broaden the quality, range and ambition of film projects and talent.

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who has been assisting the Film Council's international department, is also accompanying the council to Frames.