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Post Slumdog, British filmmakers eye India - Sathish - 03-17-2009

LONDON: The international success of feel-good drama "Slumdog Millionaire" has inspired many British filmmakers to explore India and Bollywood as the new "exotic" location for their films.

With the Bollywood-inspired story winning eight Oscars, the British film industry seems to have fallen head over heels in love with India, said a British newspaper.

These filmmakers are heading to India to shoot their films and are planning to use the sophisticated but cost-effective technology of Bollywood.

Currently, Joe Wright, the director of "Atonement", is in India on a month-long trip scouting for locations in the country to shoot his Partition drama "Indian Summer".

Set against the backdrop of the vast migrations and bloody Hindu-Muslim violence of 1947, the story also includes the alleged love affair of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten, the glamourous wife of the last British Viceroy, a report published in the Times said.

"The country is suddenly crawling with British film-makers looking for a slice of exhilarating, cost-effective exoticism."

According to Tim Bevan, the co-chairman of Working Title, the British film company, India is a film destination whose time has come. "It is the zeitgeist," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

He expects to shoot his film in India. "We will be working with some of the excellent people there that worked with Danny Boyle on Slumdog and we've got the resources of Bollywood, the second-largest film industry in the world," Boven said.

"Slumdog Millionaire" has opened the door for Indian talent and stories. Directed by British filmmaker Danny Boyle, the film tells the story of a Mumbai slumdweller and his rise to fame and fortune as he goes on to win USD 20 million in a television reality show. The film has so far raked in 150 million pound at the international box office.

"It broke the mould. Its massive international success has indicated that people are more open to stories from other worlds than we might have been led to believe," David Thompson, who runs his own production house, Origin Pictures said.

He hopes that the "Slumdog" effect will help him raise moeny for his projects in South Asia. He has plans to make a detective story and a film on a crazy elephant.

The others who are planning to work in India are Leslee Udwin, the producer of "East is East". He will be shooting a sequel, "West is West", in the Punjab later this year.

Graham Broadbent, the producer of "Becoming Jane" and "In Bruges", is putting together an all-star cast to film Deborah Moggach's novel "These Foolish Things", about a nursing home in Bangalore for retired Britons

Similarly, Gurinder Chadha of "Bend it Like Beckham", is developing two new projects set in India, while David Thompson, the former head of BBC Films, also has two Indian films in the pipeline.