France still not open for Bollywood films: French distributor

Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) Bollywood is yet to find a strong foothold in France, where approximately 600 films are released each year, said Isabelle Dubar, who distributed "Gangs of Wasseypur" (GOW) in her country.

"French market is very art house. We roughly have about 600 films every year from across the world and it is a competitive market. This market is not very open for Bollywood films, although there have been few which have released but there hasn't been a new wave of Bollywood films," Dubar said at a panel discussion at the Mumbai Film Festival Saturday.

She, however, added independent Indian films have impressed recently.

"We knew something would come from India someday. The first contact I had was with Anurag Kashyap's GOW in Cannes. For us, films from festivals such as Cannes, Venice, and Toronto are like a quotient to release in our French market," she said.

Speaking at the panel discussion about "Alternate Distribution Plan for Indie Films", Dubar said: "I was very impressed by Anurag Kashyap's talent. We sold GOW as Indian "Godfather" and we get extremely good press reviews, but since the film was in two parts, we were in a dilemma about how to release the film."

"We released the first part in July during the summer. We spent a lot of money, but the film did only half of what we were expecting. We don't discuss box office numbers, but in terms of admissions.... we expected about 30,000, but we got only 15,000. But we thought 15,000 was a good result for an Indian film," she added.

"The second part too had similar reception when we released during Christmas, but irrespective of the results, people in France know Anurag Kashyap's films. We have picked up distribution of his next film 'Ugly', and I'm sure it will do better," Dubar said.

She has also picked up the distribution rights of "The Lunchbox".

"We are releasing "The Lunchbox" in few weeks. It has a French co-producer as well. The film has been a huge success all over the world, which is very rare for an Indian film," added Dubar.

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