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Bollywood film ‘Metro’ bows online

Pic set for day-and-date theatrical, Web release

Bollywood drama “Life in a Metro” will receive a simultaneous release Friday in theaters around the globe and online.

Pic was produced by Indian conglom UTV; online component of the release will be handled by Rajshri.com, the broadband portal operated by Rajshri Films.

“Metro” is the third Indian pic to experiment with simultaneous distribution in theaters and on the Internet after Rajshri’s own “Vivah” and previous UTV title “Hattrick.”

Anurag Basu-helmed pic preemed in London on Tuesday night and receives commercial theatrical releases in the U.S., India, Blighty, Dubai and Australia. Simultaneous Web release is seen as reaching nonresident Indian populations in other parts of the world.

“With the online premiere, we are mainly targeting the South Asian diaspora,” said UTV spokesman Siddarth Kapur.

Web users will pay a hefty price for the privilege of watching a new release at home while others go to the turnstiles. Film will be available for only 72 hours on a download-on-demand basis, with a low-resolution version costing $9.99 and a high-bandwidth file at $19.99.

Bow in London’s Leicester Square allows film to capitalize on U.K. fame of its star Shilpa Shetty, who notoriously won the “Big Brother” reality show after being racially abused by a fellow contestant. It also allows UTV to add momentum to the road show for a forthcoming London stock market listing of a subsidiary.

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