Aki Sugihara,executive vice president of the 100-year-old Japanese distribution and production house Nikkatsu,says his company is aiming to make Bollywood films accessible here as there has been a rise in demand in recent years.
Nikkatsu has tied up with Yash Raj Films to release Bollywood movies including Ek Tha Tiger,Don 2,3 Idiots and Jab Tak Hai Jaan here and he said that this is just the beginning as they plan to increase the number of Hindi movies screened here.
The films will hit the theatres here on April 20,releasing in 30 prints in nine major cities in Japan including Osaka,Kyoto,Sapporo and Kobe.
Sugihara said,since the audience does not have resources,not many are aware about Hindi cinema and with this collaboration they are trying to make it easy for people to access Bollywood movies.
“Hindi cinema in Japan is a big progress for us. We know that people want to watch movies from India but since there is no access and knowledge,they can’t. With these big movie releases we are trying to create a demand so that we can bring more films. Right now we plan to release 30 prints but we will increase the number to 60-80 depending on the market conditions,” he told PTI.
The film was screened in Hindi with Japanese subtitles,but irrespective of the language barrier,the audience seemed to enjoy the singing and dancing sequences.
This is the first time that Bollywood movies will be released at par with Japanese film and Sugihara says though they are taking a risk,it is an important step for Japanese cinema.
“It is a huge risk because we do not know how many people will want to watch and ticket rates are very expensive in Japan. But it is an important step as Bollywood is making a global space for itself and so we felt the need of bringing it here,” said Sugihara.
He also said people are not aware of Bollywood stars yet but love the dancing and singing in the films.
“People do not know Bollywood stars yet as they haven’t watched many movies but when we studied the demand for Indian movies all of them said they have heard about singing and dancing in the movies. So they enjoy that. They find them complete entertainers.”
His production house has release Japanese films like ‘Crossroad’,’Cold Fish’,’Voice Without A Shadow’ and ‘Lala Pipo- A lot of People’.
Japan National Tourism Organization is also playing a part in strengthening the creative relation between the countries by helping director Kabir Khan of ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ hunt for locations to shoot for his next film here.
“We want more and more Indian movies to be shot here. So that people see and visit us. Japan is not that famous in Hindi movies,so we are helping the director in finding suitable locations. We hope to see more shooting here,” said a JNTO representative.
The last Hindi movie shot in Japan was the 1966 release ‘Love In Tokyo’.