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"Bollywood does not live in competition with Hollywood - AmitKhanna - Reliance BigEnt
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"Bollywood does not live in competition with Hollywood: Amit Khanna (Reliance Big Entertainment)

Translation of an interview posted in French Media....

"New access, new uses for the digital age: the culture for everyone" ... is the theme of this year's Avignon Forum which takes into Saturday's third edition. On the menu this year the International Workshop on Culture, Economy and Media chaired by Nicolas Seydoux: debates, discussions and presentations on topics as diverse as the attractiveness of the territories or issue of new media for the written press and publishing. Some 400 participants from around the world are expected at the Davos Culture: Philippe Dauman, Viacom's CEO, Hartmut Ostrowski, Bertelsmann's chief executive, Jean-Bernard Levy, one of Vivendi, David Drummond, senior vice president of Google, Antoine Gallimard, CEO of Editions Gallimard, or Frederic Mitterrand, the French Minister of Culture and Communication ... Amit Khanna, chairman of the Indian group Reliance Big Entertainment, which in 2008 invested in DreamWorks, the studio Steven Spielberg, the book "Echoes" his eye on cultural industries in a country like India.

What is the importance of cultural industries in a country like India? Is it a luxury for the elite?
Not at all. It's terribly negative even see it that way. Culture is the essence of a country like India where faith, traditions are extremely important. It is part of human existence. Culture has nothing to do with living standards, GDP or luxury. Music, theater, dance are rooted in Indian life, and has been for many thousands of years, as in China or Africa. Compared to us, the United States has also not growing, it is a very young nation. With the rise of middle classes, the market is very promising. All our cultural industries, whether book, film or music, take advantage now, and prospects are immense. Demographically, India is the most powerful country in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people. Youth is one of our strengths. Here, 70% of the population is under 35 years. This year, the country's growth rate will reach 9.9%. But however we need government support to improve access to education.

France is very attached to the idea of cultural exception and protects its enormous film and audiovisual industries. Is this the case in India? How do you explain that Hollywood or other foreign film-can 't really to penetrate the Indian market?
I do not think we can protect their culture with laws or to experience the culture through subsidies. Indian cinema, it receives no public subsidy and is doing very well. With us, protectionism does not exist. No restrictions prevent the advent of film or other foreign cultural content in our market. And yet, Hollywood represents little more than 7-8% of our box office, and a year on year, this figure does not vary much. While Indian films capture the rest of the domestic box office. The Indians are very attached to their identity and their value. Moreover, the market is segmented: the films that are most seen in Mumbai or New Delhi where the population is more outward-are not the same as elsewhere. But we are connected with the rest of the world. India has 500 television channels and a multitude of languages are spoken. We are naturally open to foreign programs.

Do you think that one day the Indian film production will be regarded in the world?
But it already! Our films are exported in a hundred countries worldwide. They are seen in the Middle East, the Arab world, Africa, in Eastern Europe etc.. Britain is also an important market for our films. The Indian box-office abroad depends heavily on Indian communities, but not only. Remember that each year, Indian cinema is watched by more than 4 billion people around the world while only 3.5 billion people will watch the films out of Hollywood studios. We are already the first! And increasingly our film will open on the world.

Bollywood is it compete with Hollywood?
Not at all. Bollywood does not live in competition with Hollywood. We are very pleased with our market. It grows very regularly and is an annual turnover of about 2.5 to 3 billion.

In France, Indian cinema is very identified with the films of Satyajit Ray, who is rather elitist. Do you think Indian cinema will follow the example of Indian literature has gained a wide audience abroad?
You, the French, you Godard, Truffaut who produce or have produced films upscale ... And besides that, you realize popular comedies. There is a demand for all types.

In 2008, Reliance has invested $ 600 million in DreamWorks, the studio by Steven Spielberg. What do you expect this?
This operation is primarily an economic opportunity. Steven Spielberg is the best in its field. It is a real opportunity to work with someone like him and I hope that this partnership will lead to a successful relationship. The idea is definitely not make it to Indian Bollywood movies or that we make films for Hollywood. We are in different markets, we have different skills. We are looking or glamorous nor talent. We're not going to go to Hollywood stars. The stars are with us every day in India. We're going to America to work with professionals.

Do you think the 3D Is the Future of the film industry?
I do not think the future of cinema is based on 3D. Every five or ten years, a new technology appears and disrupts the film. The industry has successively experienced the arrival of color, then the camcorder. Today is the turn of the 3D disrupt the chain. And it's true that last year in Hollywood films made in 3D have been very strong performance at the box office. Our studios also working on several feature film projects in 3D. For its part, Reliance Media Works, which is another branch of Reliance specializing in film restoration, planned to convert 3D cinema classics.

In France, the series has gradually replaced the film on television. The trend is it the same in India?
India is a vast continent, while France is a small country. You can not compare them. No format has precedence over another on Indian television. The movies are always much publicized.

What is the role of entertainment in the Reliance group?
Reliance is the third Indian group. It is present in the energy, telecommunications, infrastructure, finance. The media is probably its smallest business. But all activities are as important for the group and are the subject of investment.

In Europe, players such as Google or Apple are perceived as a threat by the media. Is this the case in India?
In Europe, the arrival of new technology raises concerns. This is not the case in India. Now if Googleor another, decided to use our content without paying, he will find himself facing serious difficulties. All creators of the world want their content to be paid. For my part, I am convinced that one day Google will come back on track. It is a matter of time.

Illegal downloading is there a plague in India as important as China for example?
Piracy is a problem worldwide. No more in India than elsewhere. We try to protect our content in defending our point of view to government and with the hope that is put in place a regulation, but it is not simple. In Indian cinema, the shortfall related to illegal downloading probably reached $ 1 billion per year.

In India, the press remains a buoyant market. Do you still threats term monetization of information?
No. We do absolutely not asking this question. Indian newspapers are selling very well. The press is a growing market that constantly conquers new readers. The development of education is of course for many.

What are you looking at Avignon Forum that starts today?
I love France, I am regularly ... For me, the Avignon Forum is a unique platform that allows individuals from all walks of the world economy and culture, to exchange all freely. It's very helpful. This enables better understanding of the challenges that lie ahead and debate proposals for projects to support the development of culture and cultural industries in the world.

INTERVIEW BY DAVID AND NATHALIE BARROUX SILBERT

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