The runaway success of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, which swept the Oscars this year, has inspired several British film makers to go in for movies with Bollywood stars to attract the global audience.
Many studios are now looking to replicate its success. One of the new films in production include 'Indian Summer', which is being filmed on location in the subcontinent. It tells the story of the last days of colonial rule and is directed by Joe Wright, who had a period-drama hit with Ian McEwan's 'Atonment'. "India is a fascinating, extraordinary place," Wright told ‘Variety’ magazine. "What's happening there is going to affect us more and more, whether in film industry terms or politically with what's happening in Pakistan."
NRI filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, who directed the box office hit 'Bend It Like Beckham' in 2002, is currently making 'It's Wonderful Afterlife', a film set in London. It stars versatile Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi and is a comedy about a British Asian mother's attempts to marry off her daughter, which leads to a bout of serial killing. 'Blame it on the Bhangra' is another comedy about a British Asian girl trying to break into the macho world of bhangra dancing. It is being developed by Origin Pictures, which is run by former head of BBC films David Thompson. He is co-producing it with the ‘BBC’.
"I think that a film like Slumdog... showed that people are more open to experiencing different cultures in cinema," Thompson told ‘The Independent’. "There's a whole different energy about India. It's upbeat rather than miserable, colourful and light, that is what people are looking for rather than British grey skies. What we're trying to do in 'Blame it...' is make a film that crosses over for the two cultures. "It's a dance comedy, done in a way to appeal to both audiences. The bhangra dancing will be a special kind, a synthesis of western dancing and Indian bhangra dancing, designed to work for both audiences," Thompson said.
Not only British, even Bollywood has also woken up to the potential of the East-West mix. 'Kites', a high-budget Bollywood film shot in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and India will be screened at Cannes. It stars Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan and the Mexican model and actress Barbara Mori. It is described as an "action packed, international romantic thriller" and the dialogue is in English, Hindi and Spanish.
'Rafta, Rafta' is another comedy set in an Indian community in the north of England, in which two newlyweds find it hard to consummate their marriage. Slumdog Millionaire, made for around 10 million pounds has so far grossed over 227 million pounds at the international box office. It also picked up eight Oscars, adding critical acclaim to its commercial success.