Star Movies launching 'Made in India' Sunday prime time block 6 April

MUMBAI: "Come home to the Indian movies". That tag line will not be too far off the rails when Star Movies gets that "Desi" touch to its movie titles come April.

From 6 April, Star Movies introduces a Sunday 9 pm prime time block branded "Made in India", Tarun Katial, senior V-P programming content & communication, Star India, tells Kicking off (literally) the proceedings will be Gurindher Chadha's celebrated international sleeper hit Bend it like Bekham.

"We've acquired 18 to 20 such movies which we will be showcasing in the coming months," says Katial. "English movies addressing the Indian Diaspora are becoming increasingly sophisticated and now Indian-origin movie makers are making films that go beyond the merely exotic and reach out to a much wider audience, says Katial, on why he is convinced this initiative will be a hit with Indian TV viewers. "While most of these films have had limited theatrical releases, the exposure they will get through the telecasts will also encourage more such ventures down the line, says Katial.

Chadha, Meera Nair, Aparna Sen, all A-list directors of Indian origin who're making a name for themselves internationally, are behind three of the main films in the current lot of acquisitions that Star has made. Chadha's Bend it like Bekham, Nair's Monsoon Wedding and Sen's Mr and Mrs Iyer are the movies that will be telecast, says Katial.

Among the other films that will be showcased include Bollywood Calling, Sam and Me, Mystic Masseur, Such a Long Journey, Wings of Hope, Perfect Murder, Freaky Chakra, Everybody Says I'm Fine and Inscrutable Americans.

Katial says the Star team is developing a series of promos that capture the emotional feel of these movies. There will also be a major marketing push launched leading up to the Bekham telecast planned over the next few weeks, he reveals.

But before that it is Oscar Fever Month that is taking up mind space on the channel. It climaxes with the exclusive live telecast of Hollywood's big night on the 24 March at 6:30 am (repeat telecast at 9 pm).

"Immediately after the Oscars we will be premiering Jurassic Park III," says Katial. This is the third film in a franchise that has delivered to the channel some of its highest ratings (with the honorable exception of Titanic of course).

Star Movies is clearly hoping that this initiative will propel it well ahead of main rival HBO in the movie title race. What HBO comes up with as a riposte should make for interesting watching.

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