Bollywood shouldn't sacrifice 'masala' USP: SRK

Sep 11, 2006 Saibal Chatterjee

Toronto, Sep 10 (IANS) The presence of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Karan Johar notwithstanding, a press conference here ahead of the screening of "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" at the 31st Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), was rather sparsely attended.

Whether this was due to the 9.30 a.m. slot or otherwise, the press meet at the Sutton Place Hotel attracted more shutterbugs than pen pushers and more North America-based Indian freelancers than international journos.

Even so, the three high-profile men on the panel were in their elements as they fielded questions about their film as well as about Bollywood's position in the global context.

Both Karan and Shahrukh Khan stressed that it was crucial for Bollywood to constantly participate in international film festivals in order to further its overall strategy to go global.

Karan said: "I do not come to a major international platform like this because of any immediate commercial reason. Whether I am in Toronto or in Cannes, my primary intention is to sensitise the world not just to my own film but to Indian cinema as a whole.

"We have a unique format of storytelling and we should be proud of it. But it is always a good idea to look for global exposure for the beautiful movies that we make," said the super-successful Bollywood director.

Shahrukh said: "I have been to a few international film festivals. It is not enough to merely take a particular film to a global audience. It is important for us to explain to the market why Bollywood films continue to thrive despite growing competition from Hollywood.

"Conversely, we should also try and understand how global producers, distributors and exhibitors operate and tell them that we are ready to do business with them."

But both Karan and Shahrukh insisted that Bollywood must not sacrifice its internationally recognised USP - the song and dance and high drama-driven narrative style.

"We should find our place in the world without sacrificing our intrinsic character," Shahrukh asserted.

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Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna


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