July 25, 2008

Postcard from Bollywood

That's right, dear viewers — a post on some big news from India's movie scene:

BollywoodWorld and INDOLink's Planet Bollywood have both reported that the Walt Disney Company has secured the North American rights to Bollywood star/director Aamir Khan's family–centric feature Taare Zaneen Par — the story about a dyslexic boy and the teacher who reaches out to him in a very big way.

Here are the links to a glowing review from The Times of India, and a short piece about what may have sold Disney on the flick, courtesy of Screen.

BollywoodWorld reports that Disney's DVD (Region 1 NTSC) of Taare Zaneen Par will be subtitled, but your Projectionist won't be surprised if it also gets an English dub — and gets retitled for Western markets. (In India, the movie will be published on disc by T–Series.)

One small problem with the BollywoodWorld piece: This won't exactly be the first time that a Hollywood–based entity brought a Indian movie to the attention of North Americans. For example Sony Pictures brought another Aamir Khan production, Lagaan to our shores — first to DVD and then later in a theatrical run. (Sadly, Sony seems to have discontinued their Region 1 DVD of the film. Check Amazon.com to see if you can snag one of the remaining copies.)

Plus, Sony recently released a Region 1 DVD of another Bollywood feature, Saawariya. And nearly every big box retailer, from Barnes & Noble to Wal–Mart, seems to have it in stock.

(Yes, I know, Sony is Japanese first. But they also own Columbia Pictures, Tri–Star Pictures, and Screen Gems, which means they have some Hollywood roots as far as I can see.)

For those not into family fare but who want to sample Bollywood without breaking the bank, Eros International's U.S. webshop has mounted a "I Luv My India Independence Day Sale," with all–region DVDs priced to move out (many of them as low as US $1!). It's a limited time offer, and worth checking out. Eros (that's "eh-ROS," folks) accepts cheques and money orders sent by mail as well as credit cards online.

By the way, here's how big Eros really is

[UPDATE 2008.07.27: Disney also secured distribution rights on Taare Zameen Par for the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.]

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