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NRI tennis star admonishes Bollywood

Tennis player-turned-US filmmaker Ashok Amritraj urges the Indian film industry to make changes.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 17:31 IST

The Indian film industry needs to address several issues - such as the right theatres and movie houses - if it wants to see growth in the US, former Indian tennis star-turned-US filmmaker Ashok Amritraj said Wednesday.

He was speaking at Frames 2006, the annual convention on the Indian entertainment industry organised here by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"You have to find the right theatres - generally you have a one-hour drive to go find an Indian movie," Amritraj said.

"They should find the movie houses that are easy to access and I would like to see Indian producers and distributors and perhaps some of us abroad joining hands.

"I think it is also important to figure out a way to capture global audiences. Right now I think the primary audience is the NRIs abroad.

"It's not an easy task - you are competing against films from all over the world, but I certainly think that (Indian) films are capable of capturing a non-Indian audience."

Supporting earlier speakers at the convention who called for the piracy issue in India to be addressed, Amritraj said while he had heard a lot of talk around this for the last couple of years, he would like to see much stricter laws.

"In my home state of Tamil Nadu, piracy is a non-bailable offence, and I'd like to see that in every state in the country."

Copyright laws need to receive attention as well, and Indian filmmakers needed to be more original, he said. "It's not a good idea to have storylines necessarily inspired by the latest Hollywood filmmaker."

Amritraj concluded by saying that the growth of Indian film, television and animation was "unstoppable".

"I look forward to being a part of it and I look forward to the first Indian film that will capture a global audience."

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 17:31 IST