“Ten years back, for an Indian film, the overseas market was 5 to 10 percent of its entire theatrical business. Currently it stands at 20 to 30 percent. In the next few years, I am sure the overseas market will cross 50 percent of the overall business,” said CEO of Reliance Entertainment Sanjeev Lamba.
“If you only consider the theatrical market, a few films like ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ and ‘My Name Is Khan’ have already made more money overseas than in India,” he stated at the opening of the Mumbai Film Mart that has been catering to the cinema business at the Mumbai Film Festival for many years.
B.J. Park of Apex Entertainment, which released Aamir Khan starrer “3 Idiots” in South Korea, said: “The emotions in ‘3 Idiots’ resonated with South Korean cinema viewers. Besides, Indian cinema is getting bigger and better,” he said.
“Before ‘Black’ and ‘3 Idiots’ released in my country, we had no idea about Indian cinema. But now we are looking for films with potential to release in South Korea,” added Eugene Kim of Showbox, another South Korean company.
“We are releasing a lot of Hindi films in Germany. We have even tried Indian regional cinema and there’s a huge potential in the German market,” said Stephan Holl of Rapid Eye, responsible for making Shah Rukh Khan a household name in Germany.
Akifumi Sugihara from Nikkatsu, one of the oldest studios in Japan, said: “It’s a pity that not many Indian films are released in Japan. Most Japanese have a preconceived notion about Indian cinema. I want you to make new types of cinema that we can show to Japanese.”
David Jourdan from IM Global, US, when asked about the kind of Indian films he would like to release, said: “We are looking for films that have truly crossover potential.”
He said the movie “Kites” went to places where none or few Indian films had released, including western Europe, South Africa and Scandinavia among others.
“It’s yet at a nascent stage, but it’s also about taking baby steps for opening up global markets for Indian cinema,” Jourdan said.
But how do these markets open up?
“‘3 Idiots’ appealed to South Korean sensibilities. ‘Kites’ had a South American actress, so it worked there. After a film makes inroads into a market, it is up to the Indian film industry to work together to take advantage of the same,” said Lamba.