AXN, HKTB take viewers through a Bollywood Odyssey

MUMBAI: Action entertainment with local relevance! That is the path that AXN's latest cross promotional initiative will take.

The broadcaster has teamed up with the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) for a special Hong Kong Bollywood Movie Odyssey. It airs on 27 November at 10:30 pm with repeats on 16 December at 9:30 pm and on 17 December at .5:30 pm.

Hosted by former Miss World Diana Hayden the show will take viewers to Hong Kong locales that Bollywood film producers have made use of. Films like Company, Naam, Gumrah have all had important sequences shot in Hong Kong in locations like Victoria Harbour and The Peak.

This is the second major collaboration between the two parties. A couple of years ago AXN had organised the India Challenge event in conjunction with the HKTB. The winning team was then sent to Hong Kong to compete in the Hong Kong AXN Challenge.

Speaking on the latest initiative AXN Asia VP marketing and creative services Gregory Ho said, "This is a fascinating collaboration between two Asian brands. While many Indians relate with Hong Kong as a shoppers paradise and for its gourmet delights it is also the action capital of Asia. It is synonymous with action films. Legends like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan came from there.

"This show is an attempt on our part to strengthen lifestyle programming on the channel. With this we are trying to go beyond the reality genre. When people see the above mentioned Bollywood films again they will appreciate them more because of the perspective our show will bring to the table.

"We chose Diana Hayden because she is spontaneous and articulate. When you air a show across Asia you want someone well polished that viewers across the board can identify with."

AXN will air also the Hong Kong Movie Odyssey on 20 November at 10:30 pm with repeats on 9 December at 9:30 pm and on 10 December at 5:30 pm. This looks at Hong Kong movies whose filmmaking style has influenced the world including Bollywood

Ho added that AXN's parent Sony has a production facility in Hong Kong where films are made. So titles like So Close, Double Vision will air dubbed on the channel next year. In all the channel has around 10-12 films from Hong Kong in the pipeline. However we do not have any plans to air Indian action films in subtitles."

HKTB South and South East Asia regional director David Leung added, "The show will give viewers the opportunity to see Hong Kong's cosmopolitan lifestyle and fusion of cultures. We hope that the show will stimulate viewers desires to eat and drink in the same locales that their film heroes did.

"Earlier this year we did focus group promotions like the Bollywood Map. This shows the different locations in Hong Kong where Hindi films have been shot. We however felt the need to move from print to the electronic medium to create a larger impact. Therefore we tied up with AXN."

"We are also talking to Indian film and television producers regarding shooting in Hong Kong. We are confident of finalising deals by the time Frames is held in March 2005. We will make major announcements at that event. Later this year Hong Kong will organise the Winter Fest.

" We will be using the Indian radio and print medium to spread awareness about the same. We are also hopeful of using brand ambassador Jackie Chan in the future. Indians connect with him strongly. It is basically a matter of his schedule and willingness to work with us to promote Hong Kong in India."

Sony assistant VP marketing Rohit Bhandari who looks after the channel in India stated that the broadcaster is also working with the Malaysia Tourism Board. Right now vignettes promoting that country are airing on the channel.

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