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Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Senior Assistant Editor, The Times of India newspaper

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Hollywood takes over Bollywood

Hollywood, the United States’ multi-billion dollar movie industry has taken over India’s Hindi cinema industry, popularly known as Bollywood.

The new industry will now be known as Bhollywood.

Both industries hope to gain from the multi-trillion dollar takeover as far as finance and talent are concerned.

Hollywood bigwigs are said to have long envied many Indian film stars for their acting skills and large fan following. Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan's fan following is said to be 10 times more than that of any Hollywood star's worldwide fan following.

With the takeover, there will be a sharing of talent from both sides. Hollywood’s stars, directors, producers, camera men and others will teach the Indian stars more about sex scenes and gore, while Bollywood’s stars and their secretaries, directors, producers and others will teach their US counterparts about ‘song and dance’ skills.

Bachchan, the Big B of Indian cinema, and George W Bush, the Big B of the United States of America, signed the takeover deal in Washington DC.

The entire signing ceremony, which has been videotaped, will be released as a movie on the big screen in theaters in the US and India. It will be called The Signs.

The deal implies that it will be easier for Hollywood stars to act in Hindi films and Bollywood stars to act in Hollywood films.

Joint productions are expected shortly. In fact, the first Hollywood-Bollywood production Gangs of Mumbai, starring Hollywood's Leonardo DiCaprio and India's Aishwarya Rai, is expected in a few months. Mumbai is India's film capital.

Bollywood’s stars were the first to react to news about the takeover.

Rai, a former beauty queen, and now one of India’s top actresses, said she was glad that finally she would be able to earn her living in dollars.

Rani Mukherjee said she would change her name to Queen Mukherjee. ‘Rani’ is the Hindi term for Queen. Similarly, Shah Rukh Khan will change his name to Lord Rukh Khan.

Abhishek Bachchan, the star son of Amitabh Bachchan, is said to be in Washington too, busy signing deals for movie roles in Hollywood blockbusters planned for next year.

'The Hindi cinema industry is in the dumps, with an increasing number of flops. The takeover is welcome,' the Junior Bachchan said.

Hollywood stars Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson and others are in Mumbai to sign deals with Hindi film producers and directors.

With the takeover, the signing of deals has been simplified. All the stars will have to do is put their thumb impression on the papers, as many Indians sign important documents in remote villages.

A top film scriptwriter in Mumbai heaved a sigh of relief on hearing the news of the takeover. 'At least now I will not have to lift scripts and story ideas from Hollywood flicks,' he said.


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