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Preems set for Bollywood holiday

World Brief

MUMBAI — This week Bollywood will see and hear dead people at a time when many Indians flock to the theater during the major Hindu holiday of Diwali.

Two films will have prominent contributions from dead artists battling for the box office.

Producer Yash Chopra’s “Veer zaara” will take on K. Asif’s B&W 1960 classic “Mughal-e-azam” (The Great Mughal), which has been colorized.

“Veer zaara” has music compositions culled from the vaults of composer Madan Mohan, who died in 1975.

The music — released by Yashraj Music — cashing in on the nostalgia factor, has already sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, according to Yashraj execs.

“Mughal-e-azam,” whose leading lady Madhubala died in 1968, has been colorized at a cost of more than $2.5 million. Its Mumbai distribution rights alone sold for $500,000. Its composer, Naushad, digitally remastered the music for the new version.

So far “Veer zaara,” which will be released on 600 screens in India and 300 screens worldwide, seems to have an advantage since it has been booked in Mumbai’s most prominent theaters, making it difficult for “Mughal-e-Azam’s” distribs to adequately place their product.

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