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(PIFF) Indian cinema tapping into world on tradition: director
By Kim Hyun
BUSAN, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- Indian cinema preserves the country's strong oral tradition that uses music to express emotions, and that indigenous quality sets apart and enables Bollywood to move the international audience, veteran Indian director Mani Ratnam said Friday.

   Promoting his latest film "Raavan" during the Pusan International Film Festival, Ratnam said his film, now internationally distributed, is "just a small step" forward to the world market.

   "I think what's special about Indian cinema is that it still remains Indian cinema, it is not totally 'Hollywood-ized,'" Ratnam said at a press conference.

   Indian music that has passed on through generations gives filmmakers broader leeway to express emotions than just stick to drama, he said.

   "I think it might be little alien for somebody outside, but for a filmmaker it is a tremendous advantage to have ... You have this wonderful opportunity to be able to go abstract, to convert to something very emotional and to an abstract form and then come back to the logical direction again. So it just gives you freedom not to be restricted to a very strict dramatic form," Ratnam said.

   Starring Bollywood darling and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, her husband Abhishek Bachchan and Vikram, "Raavan" tells the story of an outlaw who abducts the wife of a police officer to teach him a lesson. While hiding in a nearby jungle, the two fall in love - but the story has a dramatic twist and carries a subtle theme to the end.

   Bachchan, the son of major Indian actors who plays the lead character in the Hindi version, recognized Indian cinema's growing prowess on the world stage, but said the issue is not about domination.

   "To think, one out of six people in the world is Indian, I think we are pretty globalized," he said with a grin. "But I don't think the question is about global domination. It's about taking your work and getting it shown to as many people as possible, who would believe that it's something worth watching."

   "Raavan" was produced in two versions -- first in the director's native Tamil, then in the national language Hindi in the name of "Raavanan." It is said to be one of the first Indian movies to be distributed globally.
The versions were shot simultaneously, forcing the actors to dive from a cliff, stay under a waterfall for hours and withstand snakes in jungles. Rai and Vikram, who star in both films, said they were emotionally and physically challenged.

   "It was the most challenging experience of my career," Rai said. Cinema is "about the right emotions. It's about all elements coming together. When the magic happens you know you got it, and immediately you've got to go again ... We want to capture the magical moments again with another set of actors."