Bollywood blooms in S. Africa

Fest to travel from Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG — The craze for Indian film has hit South Africa, where exhib Ster-Kinekor will present the first Bollywood Film Festival on Sept. 20.

Pat Pillai, Ster-Kinekor marketing executive for emerging markets, said the decision to launch the event was based on the heightened interest audiences have shown in the past year.

The festival will run for seven weeks, opening in Durban, then moving to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Ster-Kinekor started showing Bollywood titles about two years ago and set up a Bollywood films division in June 2001 to facilitate regular releases. Since then, exhib has released around 20 titles, with “Kabhi khushi kabhie gham” (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow) the best box office performer.

Pillai said the response had been phenomenal and is growing all the time. “Audiences are not only South African Indians. (Locals) have a taste for this exotic genre, with strong support across all race groups from young to old.”

He said the movies, despite showing on very few screens, were often in the top 10 at the box office for Ster-Kinekor. “On just eight prints, a Bollywood feature often makes the same for us as Hollywood fare on 20 or 30 prints.”

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