Warner Brothers Enters Indian Movie Market

Hollywood studio Warner Brothers has made its first foray into film production in India with the release of a Hindi film, Chandni Chowk to China. Several big Hollywood studios are investing in India to tap the huge movie business in the country.

The Hindi film Chandni Chowk to China, which was released Friday in nearly 30 countries, is the story of a simple, bumbling cook living in the crowded alleys of Delhi who is mistaken for the reincarnation of a Chinese warrior.

The story is quintessentially Bollywood - the name popularly used for the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai. The film is packed with breathtaking action, spectacular locations, bouts of laughter and heart stirring emotions which appeal to Indian audiences. It has a cast of top Bollywood stars.

But there is a difference. It is the first Hindi film co-produced by Hollywood studio, Warner Brothers.

Warner Brothers is among several Hollywood studios which have begun entering into joint ventures with Indian production houses.

They are eyeing the huge movie audiences in a country of over one billion people, where watching Bollywood films is a passion which transcends its ethnic and linguistic divide.

One of the producers of Chandni Chowk to China, Rohan Sippy, says India represents one of the world's big movie markets.

"This is the one market which is a successful cinema market in the world, so they would obviously like to be a part of it," he said. "We have got a great cinema culture, we have loyal audiences, and great filmmakers of many, many years, it is such a prominent part of our culture, it is very healthy and vibrant, and hopefully will sustain for a long time to come."

Hindi films do good business not just in India. They are also popular in other Asian countries, and with Indians living overseas.

Warner Brothers plans to produce six more Hindi films in the next few years. Like Chandni Chowk to China, these films will be based on Indian stories, and be locally produced.

Film producer, Rohan Sippy, says it is important that the films appeal to an Indian audience.

"Most important whoever is working on it, we must satisfy an Indian audience first, that is always the priority when we are making Hindi films, and then if we can extend that beyond to new markets that expand, that's wonderful," he said.

For Hollywood studios the investment in India is relatively small. Bollywood productions are modest by Hollywood standards - the $15 million budget of Chandni Chowk to China is considered lavish in India.

Warner Brothers is not the only Hollywood studio to invest in India. Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, and Paramount Pictures are also collaborating in film production in India.

By VOA News

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