Fathom Events is bringing the “Best of Bollywood” to U.S. movie theaters beginning in July.
Fathom announced Monday — the opening day of CinemaCon — that it plans to screen at least two Bollywood films this year and as many as six next year as part of what it’s touting as the first-ever Bollywood classic film series presented in North American cinemas. The event will kick off with the 2002 romantic drama “Devdas,” and include titles from prominent Indian film studios Eros International and Yash Raj Films.
Fathom, which specializes in presenting live events for theatrical chains, is co-owned by AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings, and Regal Entertainment Group. “Batman: The Killing Joke,” “TCM Big Screen Classics,” and “Met Live” are among its more prominent titles. It’s also booked more than 700 locations for the April 25 screenings of “Enough” from Christian comedian Chonda Pierce.
The Bollywood series will be shown at several hundred sites for one night and include exclusive bonus content.
“Devdas,” from Eros International, stars Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Khan plays the title character, a wealthy law graduate who returns from his studies in London to marry his childhood sweetheart, played by Rai. However, his family rejects the marriage, leading him to seek refuge from a prostitute, portrayed by Dixit. The film is set in the early 1900s.
Fathom will also show Yash Raj Films’ “Veer-Zaara,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukerji, as a part of this year’s series. The 2004 movie, directed by Yash Chopra and set against the India-Pakistan conflict, focuses on a wrongly imprisoned Indian Air Force pilot and a Pakistani woman, who are separated for 22 years.
Tickets and participating theater locations will be available online later this spring.
“For years Fathom has successfully created a series of classic movie events, while simultaneously monitoring the growth of Indian feature films here in the U.S.,” said Fathom Events Vice President of Studio Relations Tom Lucas. “We are thrilled to be partnering with two of the most prestigious studios in this space to introduce a new and exciting ‘Best of Bollywood Event Series’ to the world of event cinema.”
Lucas told Variety that the initiative will target U.S. residents of Indian descent — about 3 million people.
“Eros International is very proud to partner with Fathom Events to bring the ‘Best of Bollywood Event Series’ to the silver screen,” said Ken Naz, Eros International’s president of Americas operations. “We look forward to showcasing some of the 3,000+ great Bollywood classics in our library, starting with ‘Devdas,’ throughout the country on the big screen — the way they were meant to be seen.”
Vaibhav Rajput, Yash Raj Films’ head of operations in the Americas, said, “We feel immense pride having achieved this special place in the hearts of the people that really matter — the fans. Consequently, it’s always been our endeavor to reach out to as many fans of Indian cinema as possible and reciprocate the love through our films. This partnership with Fathom Events is yet another step in this direction by bringing one of Mr. Chopra’s personal favorites, ‘Veer-Zaara’ to the ‘Best of Bollywood Event Series’ in North America and say ‘thank you’ to the fans.”