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Bollywood exports on show in Macau

BOLLYWOOD'S top stars gathered in Macau yesterday for the Indian film industry's annual roadshow, pitching their elaborate song-and-dance productions to the booming Chinese market and other Asian countries.

One of the industry's biggest names, Amitabh Bachchan, kicked off the 10th International Indian Film Academy weekend by planting a lotus flower - the official flower of both India and Macau.

The 66-year-old veteran actor said he welcomed the attention brought to India by the Oscar-winning British movie "Slumdog Millionaire" - the story of an orphan from Mumbai's slums who wins the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" - but argued that Bollywood can tell its own stories with equal flair.

"I've always believed that Indian talent and Indian creativity is in no way less than creativity from any other part of the world," he said. "There are many, many other stories and ideas and concepts that need to be explored, that need to be known."

Overseas revenues are growing for the US$2.3 billion Indian film industry, and Bollywood executives want to broaden the appeal. Foreign box office revenues have jumped from 5 percent of total revenue in 2005 to nearly 10 percent in 2008, according to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Bollywood's biggest foreign markets are the United States and Britain, which have large ethnic Indian communities. Roadshow organizers now want to attract viewers from China and other parts of east Asia.

Indian and Chinese filmmakers are scheduled to discuss today that how they can work together.


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