Bollywood comes to South Africa

Exhib Ster-Kinekor to bow inaugural event

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

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

The festival will run for seven weeks, opening in Durban and 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, Ster-Kinekor has released around 20 titles, with “Kabhi khushi kabhie gham” (Sometimes Happiness, Sometims Sorrow) the best box office performer to date.

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

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He said the movies, despite showing on very few prints, 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.”