UK is multi-million pound
market for Indian films
Oct 27: The United Kingdom has emerged as a major market for
Indian films, thanks to the presence of over two million people
of south Asian origin who ensure that at least one Bollywood
film figures in the UK top ten chart regularly.
film producers have woven into story lines themes that touch
upon the life and times of the Indian diaspora here. Thus,
films such as "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" have
proved hits not only in India but also in the UK. On any given
day, Indian films are being shot on several locations across
Indian films figure in the ongoing 51st London Film Festival
(Oct 17 to Nov 1). They are, "Four Women" directed
by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, "Frozen" directed by Shivajee
Chandrabhushan, "The Last Lear" by Rituparno Ghosh,
"Mahek" directed by K Kanade, and "The Voyeurs"
directed by Budhadev Dasgupta.
During the last year, Indian films generated 16 million pounds
(about USD33 million) at the UK box office. The strength of
the UK market for Indian films has forced producers and directors
to either shoot here or incorporate British Asian themes and
month, two Indian films - "Bhool Bhulaiya" and "Laga
Chunari Mein Daag" - entered the UK Top Ten Chart. The
situation has reached such a pass that it is considered normal
for an Indian film to collect a million pounds from the box
Alam, editor of India-EU Film Initiative, said, "Now
Indian film distributors have also become conscious of the
fact that that they have to join the mainstream of the film
distribution network in the UK.
giant entertainment company, Adlabs, became the 21st member
of the Film Distributors Association (FDA) in October 2007
- only the second Indian company to do so after Eros."
major film companies from India - Eros, Film India Company
and UTV - are listed on the Alternative Investment Market
of the London Stock Exchange.
Batey, chief executive of FDA, said, "The strength of
our association is reflected by the fact that 97 percent of
the 800 million pounds box office collections in the UK last
year came from the FDA members. Two percent of this amount,
16 million pounds, was generated by the Indian films.
year 2006 saw 500 film releases from 33 countries in the UK,
including 200 films from the US. The UK was next with about
65 productions, followed by India and France with 53 and 30
is a regular feature now to see Indian films featuring in
the weekly top ten chart of the UK. In a year, the top 20
films tend to be UK or US films with very wide, cross-market
appeal whereas Bollywood is inevitably a niche market in the
UK, albeit an important and growing one."
have been instances when more Indian than local films were
released in the UK. A record 74 Indian films were released
here in 2005, compared to 61 UK productions.
about India`s presence in the UK film sphere, Batey said,
"The Indian film market is huge and offers amazing opportunities
to all. This is the reason more and more international companies
are looking for partners in India to take advantage of the
this year, the India International Film Awards (IIFA) were
staged in Yorkshire. Several regional developments agencies
in the UK have been sending teams to Mumbai to court Indian
film producers and offer incentives to shoot films in their
region. Tourism figures suggest that tourist traffic from
India is higher to places in UK that figure in films. Tourist
officials have also brought out a `Bollywood map` of Britain.
as in India, UK film authorities have also had to grapple
with piracy. According to the Federation Against Copyright
Theft (FACT), piracy is a business that generates over 270
million pounds a year for criminals.
2006, FACT seized over 1.5 million pirated DVDs and its in-house
forensic services team assisted the police, trading standards,
and revenue and customs in examining close to one million
said, "From the seized products we understand that Indian
films are equally affected by piracy. FDA is constantly working
with distributors to evolve ways and means to stop piracy."