04 December, 2020

Talk Naturally!

Only good screenplays can ensure western audiences for Bollywood films

Talk Naturally!
Yorkshire was all dressed up by the 9th of June as hostess to IIFA; the Indian film award jamboree that has been dubbed the Bollywood Oscars. With Bollywood already contributing about £200 million to the UK economy, a figure expected to rise 25 per cent annually, it was hardly surprising that Tony Blair himself pushed Yorkshire's bid to host IIFA. The four-day event alone boosted Yorkshire's economy by an estimated £10 million, and local organisations spent months preparing not just for numerous scattered functions but also the arrival of an anticipated 30,000 overseas visitors, some of them demi-gods to the many Bollywood fans in the area.

One such person—my Pakistani taxi driver in Leeds—told me about the giant screens going up in town centres to show Hindi films (to no doubt startled late drinkers in nearby coffee shops), and about fans gathering at Headingley, where stars from both the film and cricket worlds were trickling in for a celebrity cricket match. But, in a handsome stately home on the outskirts of Leeds, there was...


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