With the 5th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles opening at the Arclight Hollywood from April 17th to 22nd, India as a movie source is worth examining. First, India is starting to rival Africa as the latest location choice for Hollywood films. Brad Pitt has been producing and Angelina Jolie acting in the new feature film A Mighty Heart based on the Daniel Pearl story with the Western Indian city of Pure substituting for Karachi, Pakistan. Owen Wilson reunited with director Wes Anderson for The Darjeeling Limited set and shot in India. And both George Clooney and Will Smith have expressed interest in collaborating with the Bollywood film industry on future projects. Certainly U.S. moviegoers can’t get enough of Bollywood movies. Last year was a record-breaker for Hindi films at the U.S. box office: of the 14 foreign language films that grossed over $2 mil here in 2006, seven have been in Hindi. Until then, no more than two Hindi films made over $2 mil here in the same year. No company has benefited more from this run than BODVOD Networks, the NY-based media company that holds exclusive rights to popular Indian movies from top studios such as UTV and Adlabs. BODVOD was created in 2004 to acquire, package, market and distribute Bollywood and other South Asian films, TV shows and music on all on-demand media platforms through over 30 major distribution partners. The result is that North American cable companies are making deals left and right for Bollywood product with BODVOD — in Toronto with Canada’s largest cable provider Rogers Communications, in San Diego and Orange County with Cox Communications, and in Los Angeles for the annual Indian Film Festival with co-sponsor Time Warner Cable. Recent hit Bollywood films available on cable include Deewane, Huye Pagal, Lakshya, Chup Chup Ke and Krrish. Later this season come premieres of Shah Rukh Khan’s action blockbuster Don, the New York-set comedy Jaan-E-Mann, and the epic Moghul-era romance Umrao Jaan starring the newly engaged Bollywood power couple Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan.
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