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KAJOL, AJAY DEVGAN TO APPEAR
AT FIRST-EVER FOR L.A. PREMIERE
By Lisa Tsering
India-West Staff Reporter
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Bollywood's sweetheart Kajol, and hubby and co-star Ajay Devgan will appear in person at the world premiere of their film Raju Chacha in LosAngeles Dec. 28.
The $10 million film, billed as the most expensive Indian film ever made, is also the first-ever Bollywood film to have its international premiere in Los Angeles.
Proceeds from the event, organized by SmasHits.com, will go to the IndianAmerican Cultural and Educational Federation.
"We chose Los Angeles because that's the home of Hollywood. What better place to hold a film premiere?" Abhesh Verma, head of SmasHits, told IndiaWest by phone from his office in Fairfield, Iowa.
Kajol makes her long-awaited return to films in the role of Anna, an outspoken young governess in charge of a brood of brats (the story is adapted from The Sound of Music). The kids' father, Siddhant Rai (Rishi Kapoor), a successful architect, is devoted to his three children - Rohit, Rahul and Rani. Till now, the kids have made it their mission to torment every governess Siddhant brings to the house, but they soon realize that Anna is no ordinary governess.
Ajay Devgan plays Shekhar, a man with a mysterious past, who befriends the family and falls in love with Anna.
Music is by Jatin/Lalit, and the film is directed by Anil Devgan for Devgan Entertainment and producer Bharat Shah. Raju Chacha's Web site, www.rajuchacha.com, has plenty of songs, images, games, e-greetings and a trailer for the film.
According to Munish Gupta, vice president of First Serve Entertainment, which is working with SmasHits to coordinate the event, Raju Chacha's budget of nearly $10 million makes it India's most expensive film to date (the previous record-holder, 1998 Jeans cost Rs. 190 million, or U.S.$4 million).
Everything in the film was done on a lavish scale, said Gupta - from the 1,000 Indian children hired as extras for one song, to the reported $500,000 marble floors for a full-scale castle built specially for Raju Chacha on a south Indian film lot.
Raju Chacha will premiere Dec. 28 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one day before it opens in India and two days before opening in Britain. Kajol and Ajay Devgan are confirmed to appear at the event, said Verma, and guests will be able to meet them at a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. The film will screen at 7 p.m.
A limited number of tickets are available to the general public, for $30 each, and SmasHits.com is giving away tickets online to selected winners of a music trivia contest. Costars Rishi Kapoor and Johny Lever may also attend the event but they're not yet confirmed, said Verma. The evening's chief guest will be producer Vijay Amritraj, and director Anil Devgan, making his feature film debut, will also be on hand.
The IndianAmerican Cultural and Educational Foundation, a nonprofit headed by Inder Singh, will use the proceeds to provide scholarships to IndianAmerican students, said Verma. The organization is best known as the coordinator of the annual Youth Awards.
For ticket information, call (877) 627-5918 or visit www.SmasHits.com.