Bollywood Britain

Episodes

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01Those Golden Years *20100223

When Slumdog Millionaire won acclaim last year it was hailed a breakthrough for the Indian film industry.

In reality, Bollywood is already bigger than its Western namesake.

Across the globe super-hits", like the recent "3 Idiots" and" My Name Is Khan", have broken box office records and in India alone the sheer number of cinemagoers dwarves even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters.

Slumdog took some of Bollywood's classic components to win critical acclaim and Nikki Bedi finds out exactly where it all began.

The "Golden Age", from the 1940s to the 1960s, includes some of Bollywood's best loved films as well as introducing the idea of the "playback singer", the "item number" and some of its most timeless music.

"Mother India" is one film that holds a special place for many British Asians.

It was one of the first colour films made in Mumbai and it is the glorious Technicolor and unapologetic escapism of Bollywood that gives Hindi film its appeal to ex-pats all over the world and especially in Britain.

Nikki talks about her introduction to the sights and sounds of Bollywood and guests including Slumdog composer AR Rahman, director Shekhar Kapur, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Ben Kingsley, playback singers Asha Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Tjinder Singh of Cornershop and Trickbaby talk about their memories of the earliest films and the longest-lasting soundtracks.

Nikki Bedi takes a look at the British love of Bollywood, past, present and future."

01Those Golden Years *20100223

When Slumdog Millionaire won acclaim last year it was hailed a breakthrough for the Indian film industry.

In reality, Bollywood is already bigger than its Western namesake.

Across the globe super-hits", like the recent "3 Idiots" and" My Name Is Khan", have broken box office records and in India alone the sheer number of cinemagoers dwarves even the biggest Hollywood blockbusters.

Slumdog took some of Bollywood's classic components to win critical acclaim and Nikki Bedi finds out exactly where it all began.

The "Golden Age", from the 1940s to the 1960s, includes some of Bollywood's best loved films as well as introducing the idea of the "playback singer", the "item number" and some of its most timeless music.

"Mother India" is one film that holds a special place for many British Asians.

It was one of the first colour films made in Mumbai and it is the glorious Technicolor and unapologetic escapism of Bollywood that gives Hindi film its appeal to ex-pats all over the world and especially in Britain.

Nikki talks about her introduction to the sights and sounds of Bollywood and guests including Slumdog composer AR Rahman, director Shekhar Kapur, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Ben Kingsley, playback singers Asha Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Tjinder Singh of Cornershop and Trickbaby talk about their memories of the earliest films and the longest-lasting soundtracks.

Nikki Bedi takes a look at the British love of Bollywood, past, present and future."

02*20100302

The 1970s saw the rise of commercial cinema and one of Bollywood's biggest ever hits.Sholay", the very first "curry Western", introduced superstar Amitabh Bachchan to the world and in this programme Nikki Bedi looks at some of Bollywood's biggest stars.

There were to be many more less successful "currified" versions of Western films though. India has historically had very lax copyright controls and whatever musical or film style is popular in the West, Bollywood can create its own unique version, from Michael Jackson dance moves to Celine Dion and the song from Titanic. The cheap availability of the video cassette and the cheap production values of the films being made meant that, in the UK, audiences stopped going to the cinemas of Southall, Bradford and Wolverhampton and started to stay in.

In this programme, Nikki looks at where the art of Hindi film strayed from its "super hit" formula of real life stories and real life heroes and took to portraying the richer lifestyles and locations of the ex-pats in the audiences. Meanwhile the UK audience was finding new ways of expressing itself with the rise of the Asian Underground sound and Asian talent finally breaking into Western TV and film.

It took films like "Dil Se" and the emerging talents of a new breed of director and musical director to get British Asians back into the big screen of Bollywood. Guests including Slumdog composer AR Rahman, director Shekhar Kapur, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Ben Kingsley, Playback singers Asha Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Tjinder Singh of Cornershop and Trickbaby talk about the films which kept a global audience coming back for more.

Nikki Bedi takes a look at the British love of Bollywood, past, present and future."

03Millionaire's Millennium *20100309

This time last year, Slumdog was the film that everyone was talking about. Nikki Bedi finds out whether the film has really broken down the cultural barriers between Eastern and Western cinema.

The Noughties" seemed to usher in a new "Golden Age" for Hindi cinema, with talented directors and composers from Mumbai finding their skills being sort after in Hollywood. Films like " Moulin Rouge" seemed to channel the spirit of Bollywood, Andrew Lloyd Webber took " Bombay Dreams " to the West End, and samples taken from filmi music were rife in Western hip hop and pop music.

Recently films like Blue, featuring Kylie, have been made with a Western audience in mind and new blockbusters exploring the underbelly of Mumbai are already in production. The creative ground is ripe but Nikki asks why Slumdog succeeded where other films have failed and what lessons both Hollywood and Bollywood can learn from it, as well as taking stock of just what makes Hindi film so distinctive.

Slumdog screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy, director Danny Boyle, composer AR Rahman, director Shekhar Kapur, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Ben Kingsley, Playback singers Asha Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Tjinder Singh of Cornershop and Trickbaby tell us what they see as the future for Bollywood Britain.

Has Slumdog Millionaire really broken down barriers between Eastern and Western cinema?"

03Millionaire's Millennium *20100309

This time last year, Slumdog was the film that everyone was talking about. Nikki Bedi finds out whether the film has really broken down the cultural barriers between Eastern and Western cinema.

The Noughties" seemed to usher in a new "Golden Age" for Hindi cinema, with talented directors and composers from Mumbai finding their skills being sort after in Hollywood. Films like " Moulin Rouge" seemed to channel the spirit of Bollywood, Andrew Lloyd Webber took " Bombay Dreams " to the West End, and samples taken from filmi music were rife in Western hip hop and pop music.

Recently films like Blue, featuring Kylie, have been made with a Western audience in mind and new blockbusters exploring the underbelly of Mumbai are already in production. The creative ground is ripe but Nikki asks why Slumdog succeeded where other films have failed and what lessons both Hollywood and Bollywood can learn from it, as well as taking stock of just what makes Hindi film so distinctive.

Slumdog screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy, director Danny Boyle, composer AR Rahman, director Shekhar Kapur, lyricist Javed Akhtar, actor Ben Kingsley, Playback singers Asha Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy Subramanium, superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, Nitin Sawhney, Tjinder Singh of Cornershop and Trickbaby tell us what they see as the future for Bollywood Britain.

Has Slumdog Millionaire really broken down barriers between Eastern and Western cinema?"