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‘Bollywood bigger than Hollywood’

He said: “India has the largest film industry in the world. We sell twice the amount of tickets that Hollywood does. “They are at a…

He said: “India has the largest film industry in the world. We sell twice the amount of tickets that Hollywood does. “They are at a threshold where people have suddenly developed this love for Indian cinema.

“But I don’t think it’s going to be this huge rage in the English-speaking world. There is always a language barrier and that is something that has to be respected.”

He was speaking at the world premiere of the latest Indian release, Raavan, at London’s British Film Institute in which he stars alongside his wife Aishwarya Rai. Thousands of fans lined the red carpet to catch a glimpse of India’s “first couple”. Some even stood on rooftops for a better view.

Although they may not be household names elsewhere, back home they are practically royalty. Aishwarya is a former Miss World who has starred in dozens of Indian movies as well as Hollywood productions like Bride and Prejudice.

Abhishek is part of an Indian film dynasty. His father, Amitabh Bachchan, is an internationally acclaimed actor and television presenter who briefly became a politician in the 1980s.

In terms of numbers, the Indian film industry is the biggest in the world. Movies are an intrinsic part of national culture and three and a half billion cinema tickets are sold every year. Around 1,000 films are made annually – double the number Hollywood produces.

But despite its lower output America still makes the most money – about $51bn a year compared to India’s $1.3bn.

Aishwarya, who wore diamonds the size of gobstoppers to the premiere, said she loves working with her husband: “We’ve worked together before and we respect each other and behave professionally on set. But it’s great when filming is finished – to be together at the end of the day.”


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