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S. Africa eyes India ties

Execs seek possible film, TV co-production deals

A South African delegation comprising government, media and technology representatives will travel to India on Wednesday for a four-day visit aimed at strengthening ties between the film industries of the two countries.

The delegation will be headed by communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and will include leading South African filmmaker Anant Singh.

The media players will be out to attract foreign investment to support projects by industryites discriminated against during apartheid, Singh said in a statement released to Daily Variety in New Delhi.

‘Special relationship’

“South Africa and India have a special relationship, and we are confident that this trip will serve to strengthen this bond,” said Singh. “The Indian film industry is one of the most successful in the world and our filmmakers can learn a great deal from their Indian counterparts.”

The visiting execs also will be sounding out possible film and television co-production deals.

“The Indian film industry is on the cusp of a major international breakthrough, and we would like to be a part of this success,” Singh said.

South Africa, with a population of about a million Indians, is becoming an increasingly important market for Bollywood productions, and for Indian films in English.

Increasing ties

Cooperation has been increasing since a 1996 co-production about the formative years spent in South Africa by Mahatma Gandhi, “The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma.”

Singh, meanwhile, has signed up Indian director Shekhar Kapur to direct the film version of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”

Singh’s Videovision Entertainment also scored a first when it brought 10 of Bollywood’s leading stars to South Africa in December for a sold-out dance and entertainment show at a Durban stadium.

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