2.6 mn visits to Hindi films in UK last year: Livingstone

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Mumbai, Nov 21 (UNI) There were 2.6 million visits to Hindi films in the UK last year, and Indian films accounted for 16 per cent of all UK releases.

London mayor Ken Livingstone said today. Speaking at the Whistling Woods International here where London and Mumbai signed a historic city-to-city agreement. The agreement was signed between ''Film London'', London's film and media agency, and Film and Television Producers Guild of India (FTPGI).

The event was graced by Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, FTPGI president Ronnie Screwvala, Film London chairman Sandy Lieberson and its Chief Executive Adrian Wootton.

Speaking to reporters later, Mr Livingstone said over 40 Bollywood productions were filmed in London last year, where Bollywood production is worth an estimated USD 28 million annually. Bollywood film ''Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna'', distributed by Yashraj Films, was the third highest grossing foreign language film at the UK box office in 2006, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Amitabh Bachchan said, ''Being an artiste since 40 years, I feel wonderful at this historic moment.

When we were young, we were not allowed to go to theatres because cinema was not seen as very nice. As years have passed we have seen acceptance of cinema and I wish them all success.'' As part of the agreement Film London and FTPGI will work together to share ideas and best practice on domestic and international film production and promotion.

''London and Mumbai are two of the great international filmmaking cities. Our work with the Indian film industry is a vital part of our wider mission to develop London's economic, cultural and tourism links with India,'' Mr Wootton said while speaking on the occasion.

UNI

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