There are people all over theworld who want to watch Hindi films. I was surprised when I received some emails inquiring about our films from unusual places like Latin America, the West Indies, Ghana and some South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
I even received emails from Russian film distributors who wanted to know more about our cinema. This made merealise that our culture – Indian culture– had a massive reach. It is our cultureof love and affection that is shown inthe movies and that is what has appealed to them.
So all of us producers have cometogether and have started The IndianCouncil of Impex for Films and Television Programmers, of which I ampresident. Here, film distributors fromacross the globe can have easy accessto our films and information on them. For instance, if we get an inquiry for aparticular film, we pass on the relevant information, offering details about theproducer and distributor so that the twoparties can crack a business deal.
Our films with very famous, and popular stars in the cast are in great demand overseas. And, mind you, business is booming every passing day. In fact, I am proud to say that Indian movies are everywhere in the world today. Till not very long ago, very few countries knew about our films. Butnow things have changed. With independent and powerful producers like Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan, ourfilms have got a platform in unheard-of,small centres and countries that fetch good revenue.
For instance, take Australia, New Zealand and Fiji… Business in these countries was once negligible. Now ithas grown by leaps and bounds and a film earns a neat $ 1 lakh and even a million.
For instance, there used to bea demand for 20 prints in a country like Dubai. The number has shot up to 40 to 50, which is a business of nearly $5 million. This is as good as the money earned from places the UK and the US, where Hindi films have already made a place for themselves.
The language barrier has not prevented distributors from widening their horizons. In Europe alone, there are 14 to 16 languages that are spoken but our films are being dubbed and released in cinemas in these countries. That is a good sign as it breaks cultural and traditional barriers.
Producers are exploring websites that can earn revenue through downloading of a film. The more the people watchthe film, the more the revenue. This includes films made on small budgets and those starring relative new comers. In South East Asia, Hindi films involving fights and action sequences are in demand. Such films do great business in Dubai too. Hindi films with love stories and family themes do well in the UK, while a mix of action drama and family films fetches lucrative businessin the US.
Interestingly, besides the US, the UK and Europe, even countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh are becoming open to releasing our films there. Hindi films were earlier banned in certain Muslim countries but Bangladesh will soon lift the ban on Indian films, which is good news for our producers.
As for Pakistan, well, it is like a blow hot, blow cold relationship. Sometimes we are allowed to release our films in that country and sometimes we are not.
For instance, if a war takes place or if there is a bomb blast, the release of Hindi films will be banned there.But if there are friendly meetings with important dignitaries from India, thenit becomes easier for the producer to release his film there.