Another in a series of special Diwali articles by Koimoi.com, analyzing events in the Hindi film industry in the year gone by.
Mallika Meets Obama
India was making waves all over the globe and Bollywood was no exception. But, first, let’s get the funny part out of the way: Mallika Sherawat had tea with US President Barack Obama, who requested her to invite him to the premiere of her film, Politics Of Love, Barack. Bollywood’s more serious interaction with global affairs happened to actually take place here in Bombay.
Walt Disney Takes Control Of UTV
The other big ‘phoren’ story was that the American entertainment giant, Walt Disney, picked up promoter Ronnie Screwvala and family’s 19.8% shareholding in UTV Software Communications for about Rs. 2,000 crore. It already had a 50.44% holding in the company. The news is that the company will soon be delisted and Walt Disney will become the sole owner of one of India’s biggest and best-known entertainment conglomerates.
Hollywood Studios Go To War With Indian Exhibitors
Hollywood studios went to war with the six national multiplex chains, demanding a 50% share of net collection in the first week of release of their films while multiplexes would not give more than 45%. The stand-off almost resulted in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (English) and its dubbed Hindi version not releasing in the six national multiplex chains. A last-minute compromise allowed the film to open in multiplexes but not the time to open advance booking counters for opening-day bookings. The debates and discussions continued till the stalemate spiralled out of control, resulting in Twentieth Century Fox’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and its dubbed Hindi version not releasing in any of the six national multiplex chains. The faceoff was finally resolved with an uneasy truce: both agreed to settle at mid-point.
Indian Govt. Makes The Right Noises
Since ‘phoren’ affairs are largely about meaningless diplomacy, Bollywood, too, went through the motions. It signed a declaration with the city of Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, agreeing to jointly develop and strengthen motion picture production, distribution, technology, content protection and commercial cooperation in the two industries. And I & B minister Ambika Soni and French culture & information minister Frederic Mitterrand signed a film co-production agreement between the two nations to encourage exchange of art and culture.
The Other Tidbits, Relevant & Irrelevant, Were:
First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama, danced to a song from Rang De Basanti along with about 30 children, at the University of Bombay library in South Bombay. The Obamas were in India on an official visit that preceded Barack’s interaction with Mallika S.
Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan was honoured with the title of the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) from the French government. The function to confer the title on her was scheduled for 13th July in Delhi but was postponed in view of the bomb blasts in Bombay the same day.
The Italian government bestowed on Kabir Bedi the honour of Cavaliere (Knight) of the Order Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, the highest-ranking civilian honour in Italy.
James Cameron’s 3D wonder, Avatar, celebrated its platinum jubilee in Bombay at Big Wadala IMAX Dome. A rare feat!
A.R. Rahman’s dream run at the Oscars continued when he bagged two nominations – in the Best Original Score and the Best Original Song categories – though he could not feature in the final awards list. He was also honoured with the Crystal Award, given every year to outstanding artistes who use their talent for social work, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Hrithik Roshan unveiled his wax statue, dressed in his Dhoom:2 avatar at Madame Tussauds in London. Ra.One star Kareena Kapoor also found place in the hallowed gallery.