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Hindi films in US

The TCM channel in US will screen one Bollywood movie every week starting June.
By Indo-Asian News Service | PTI, Los Angeles
UPDATED ON MAY 20, 2003 06:19 PM IST

The Turner Classical Movies (TCM) channel in the US will bring one Bollywood creation every week to viewers in June and the line-up includes greats like "Mother India" and "Dil Chahta Hai".

The 24-hour cable network from the stable of the Turner Broadcasting System presents motion picture hits free from commercial breaks. A Hindi movie will be shown every Thursday from June 5, and 12 masterpieces will be screened.

Co-hosted by filmmaker Ismail Merchant, the channel's Bollywood festival will focus on the prolific commercial film industry in India, reported Seattle based media India HQ.

The films that will be screened include some of Bollywood's most colourful and grandest. They span a period from the early 1950s to the present.

Charlie Tabesh, senior vice president of programming at TCM, read an article about Bollywood almost two years ago and came up with the idea of the film festival.

"Here at TCM we generally try and show different parts of cinema history, including silent films, black and white films and new wave French cinema. I wanted to bring some of the charm of Indian cinema to our audience as well.

"The Indian film industry is such a prolific one and we hope our audiences will enjoy bringing a bit of Indian culture through these films into their homes."

The process of choosing the films and getting the rights to broadcast the films was long drawn. Tabesh roped in Nasreen Muni Kabir of Britain-based Hyphen Films to help with this.

"The credit for the selection and getting the rights definitely go to her. She came up with the list of films and then negotiated on our behalf," said Tabesh.

After travelling back and forth to India and speaking with various producers, Hyphen Films and TCM managed to get the rights for one play only of this remarkable selection of films, including "Junglee" and "Amar Akbar Anthony".

"We have indeed paid more for these films than we generally do for other films, but we are hoping that this film festival will enhance the value of TCM among our viewers," said Tabesh.

So, does the fact that these films are much longer than the average English film bother him?

"No, not really, I know they are longer but the stories of all the films we've picked are very engaging and I am sure everyone will enjoy them thoroughly!"

All films have English subtitles. According to Tabesh, the only aspect he wishes he could change is the technical quality.

"Due to the age and transfers, some quality loss has happened for some of the older films. The technical quality of these films is not as great as I'd like it to be."

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