India’s ‘Kollywood’ seeks global movie spotlight

CHENNAI, June 2, 2011 (AFP) – Science fiction film “Endhiran” was made in the south Indian language Tamil, but it pulled in huge profits from across the country and abroad — stoking global ambitions for “Kollywood”. Named after the Kodambakkam district of Chennai where many studios are based, the Tamil film industry aims to match the success of the Hindi-language Bollywood scene in Mumbai.

“Endhiran” (“Robot”) had an estimated budget of 35 million dollars, revolutionary technical wizardry, big stars, and was released worldwide in October 2010 with Hindi and Telugu dubbings as well as with English subtitles.

Distributor Eros International says it has been India’s most profitable film ever, grossing a record-breaking $13.8 million globally on its opening weekend — including $4.4 million in the United States alone.

Kollywood produces around 150 films a year, which generate $170 million in revenues, according to a 2009 report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Still, few people outside south India know much about the industry, the films it produces or the unparalleled fan following enjoyed by its leading stars, some of whom e