Mumbai attacks put Bollywood on hold

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read

The ripple effects of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai are being felt by the city s Bollywood film industry, with premieres and new releases postponed until fear subsides.

Glitzy parties and even celebrity weddings have also been put off, as India s entertainment capital reels from the assaults that claimed 188 lives and left 313 others injured.

Red carpet premieres – usually held here on Fridays – and other screenings have been cancelled as filmgoers stay away from cinemas and other public places.

I have never seen this low turnout of audiences in theaters, said Vishal Anand, marketing vice president of the Fun Cinemas chain.

The fear has taken over people s minds. On Friday, only 30 people turned out in one of our theaters in Mumbai. Business has been hit very badly.

The attacks also hit movies that had just been released.

Box office takings of two big films that made their debut as the tragedy unfolded were badly affected, leading industry analyst Taran Adarsh wrote on his website

Some screenings of Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Sorry Bhai! (Sorry Brother) were cancelled by cinemas, he reported.

The fear factor coupled with the fact that the terrorist attacks hadn t stopped (by) Friday night kept audiences away from any kind of outing, including movies, Adarsh said.

After the dismal start for Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Sorry Bhai! distributors planning to release films this Friday were getting jitters, he said.Bollywood can hardly afford empty cinemas, already feeling the impact of falling revenues as the global economic crisis catches up with India.

Negative sentiment and fear of contagion have already affected the $2.1 billion film industry, and producers and distributors fear that the fallout from last week s attacks could compound the slowdown.

The scheduled Friday release of Khalbali – a much-anticipated comedy showcasing more than a dozen Bollywood actors that already has a hit soundtrack – has been cancelled.

Two others have been postponed – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, starring superstar Shah Rukh Khan, to Dec. 12, and Ghajini starring Aamir Khan to Dec. 25.

Bollywood executives were hoping both films would give the beleaguered industry a boost.

Meanwhile, actress Ayesha Takia, who was due to marry this month, put off her nuptials to mid-2009.

And actor Tusshar Kapoor cancelled what was going to be an extravagant bash to celebrate the success of his last film, Golmaal Returns.

I cannot celebrate when so many lives have been lost. I used to be a regular at Taj and Oberoi, he said, referring to the two luxury hotels where guests were held hostage and murdered by the militants.

I am too depressed and saddened by this tragedy that has hit our beloved Mumbai city, said Kapoor.

The man dubbed the king of kings of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan, also voiced outrage at the attacks, writing on his blog that he was now sleeping with a gun under his pillow.

As the terror attack unfolded in front of me I did something for the first time. I pulled out my licensed .32 revolver, loaded it and put it under my pillow. I had a very disturbed sleep, he said.

Not all attempts by Bollywood luminaries to attach their names to the attacks have been welcomed, however, with one Mumbai newspaper criticizing approaches to the media by PR agents offering comments from their clients.

The Mumbai Mirror in its Sunday edition called actors who had contacted them offering comment as vultures.

Even as we are coming to grips with the horror of the recent terrorist attacks … for a handful of celebrities it was time to make hay, it added.

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