Romantic comedy features Indian, Aussie thesps

SYDNEY — Australia’s John Winter and Oz-based Indian producer Anupam Sharma are tapping into Bollywood’s recent worldwide success with audiences to co-produce a romantic comedy.

“The Film,” aimed at both Indian and Western auds, will be helmed by London-based Kaizad Gustad.

“Indian commercial films have been quarantined from the West, but that’s changing, and the time’s now right for the definitive crossover film,” Winter said.

Project will have roles for Indian and Australian thesps and has yet to be cast. It will shoot in Australia and the north Indian mountains in 2002.

Recent notable Bollywood crossover success came from big budget ensemble “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow), also known as K3G, which opened to stellar results in Blighty in mid-December, and Sony’s “Lagaan,” which has quietly rung up $1 million Stateside.

India’s Oscar entry “Monsoon Wedding,” directed by Mira Nair, is generating strong word-of-mouth ahead of a January release in some international territories.

Through his production company Temple, Sharma has carved a lucrative niche servicing Australia’s burgeoning Bollywood production sector.

(Arti Mathur in New Delhi contributed to this report.)

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