June 29, 2010

While for many the idea of Indian cinema conjures up the colorful costumes and dance numbers of Bollywood, an Indian film festival launched Friday in Beijing hopes to reveal the diversity of Indian cinema by selecting multi-language films, produced in several different regions of India.

Links between a giant of the Scottish film industry and Indian filmmakers have already helped create one of the decade's biggest movies. Now it is hoped that a new link-up between film students in Edinburgh and top Bollywood talent could lead to the next Slumdog Millionaire, the Mumbai-set smash-hit made by Shallow Grave and Trainspotting director Danny Boyle.

The three Bs of business, Bollywood and Buddhism are set to bring India and Taiwan closer as the self-ruled island and tech mecca - encouraged by the thaw with China - looks afresh at India as a rising Asian power and burgeoning market.

What brings together a beautiful Mexican actress, India's premier silver-screen hunk, and the director of "Rush Hour"? Bollywood's most serious bid yet to show it's not just Hollywood that can export films.

In the aftermath of the Beijing Olympics, there's been much discussion about an increase in China's soft power, not least by Joseph Nye, the originator of the concept. [Link] Nye and others (this writer included) have evaluated China's film industry and U.S.-Chinese co-productions as a strategic asset for the Middle Kingdom. I was discussing the subject recently with a U.S.