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BOLLYWOOD MAKES A TRYST WITH HOLLYWOOD
By Poonam Saxena
With the first-ever premiere of a Hindi film slated at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, on December 28, Bollywood makes an aggressive pitch to get noticed in Hollywood. The film is Devgan Entertainment's Raju Chacha, starring Ajay Devgan and wife Kajol, and the premiere will be sponsored by entertainment website, SmasHits.com. "We loved the project, that's why we went for it," says Chicago-based Abesh Verma, CEO, SmasHits.com.
In the past, films like Subhash Ghai's Taal and Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir have had international premieres in London and New York. As the overseas market for Hindi films swells with every year (films like Dil Se, Taal, Mohabbatein, among others, have made it to the Top Ten film charts in the UK and the US), attempts by the Hindi film industry to make its presence felt internationally are but natural. Says Munish Gupta, Vice-President, First Serve Entertainment, which is helping both SmasHits.com and Devgan Entertainment to organize the premiere, "The idea is to present a quality Hindi film before the bigwigs of the American movie industry." Echoes Kumar Mangat, executive producer, Raju Chacha, "We see a lot of synergy between Hollywood and Bollywood, in terms of co-productions and actors from both industries working together."
Raju Chacha, probably the most expensive film ever made in India (with a budget of Rs 35 crore). SmasHits itself is spending $100000 on the premiere. But as Manoranjana Sinh, content director, SmasHits.com, says, "We're spending a lot, but the publicity will be worth the money." SmasHits is not worried about the fact that the last two Devgan Entertainment films (Hindustan Ki Kasam and Dil Kya Kare) flopped at the box office or that Raju Chacha is the debut directorial venture of Ajay's brother, Anil Devgan. "In any case, we're just organizing the premiere." And in the process, helping the Hindi film industry to find its own place on the global cinema map.