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English Bollywood challenges Mumbai Bollywood

Brit director James Wooding's Bollywood Queen, while following Mumbai's song and dance routine, plans to outdo the original.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:19 IST

Bollywood faces the prospect of being overshadowed by its own masala formula now beingfine tuned by the British.

British director British director James Wooding's just completed Bollywood Queen, a £3.5 million movie, although shot in London's East End, follows the Bollywood's time-tested success formula with songs and dances nine in number. Wooding has plans to hold its world premiere in Mumbai, this autumn. It's literally like going into the lion's den.

But, his message, in a way, is that the British Bollywood is better than the Indian Bollywood. So the "thank you" for the Indian curry is about to be expressed through a lesson to Bollywood in making films. In plain money language one can say - Bollywood Beware!

More and more Asian and even British filmmakers in Britain are now venturing to make movies, Bollywood style. All this courage to challenge the biggest movie industry in the world is because of the runaway success of films like East is East and Bend It like Beckham, all home-grown productions.

They are also emboldened by the fact that many Bollywood movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Lagaan turned out to be big earners in the UK. Top Indian stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh and Aishwarya Rai are now household names.

Movie halls in cities like Leicester, Birmingham, apart from in London, now regularly screen Indian movies, and above all, now the word "Bollywood" is in the new Oxford Dictionary.

Wooding's Bollywood Queen is in English and has the natural settings of an Indian backdrop because East End has that aura and ambience of an Indian locale. Preeya Kalidas, 22, the heroine of Lord Webber's successful musical Bombay Dreams, is the leading lady in the film. She has just stepped down from her role in the musical after its one-year run in West End. She had starred in a short film Sari & Trainers made by Wooding five years ago.

He is quoted saying that the best song and dance number is against the background of Leadenhall market in the City. It may become the next favourite locale for the genuine Bollywood producers.

Distributors have predicted that Bollywood Queen may be as big a success as Bend It like Beckham and East is East. The script has all the ingredients that can attract any Bollywood producer.

A British Asian girl Gena, palyed by Kalidas, dumps her money-minded fiance, Dilip, for her true love English love, Jay. But their love faces the inevitable disapproval of relatives on both sides.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 22:27 IST