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carol@mirror.co.uk: Welcome to BollEwood; FILL UP WITH INDIAN FILM.



Byline: LAURETTE ZIEMER

EVERYONE is hopping on the Bollywood bandwagon these days - even the Queen plans to visit the lavish West End hit, Bombay Dreams.

But if you really want to get a flavour of the East, the place to head is the net, where you'll find everything you need to know about the phenomenon.

First, check in to www.bollywoodworld.com Here you will learn that film-crazy India produces 800 films a year, compared to only 100 in Hollywood. Add to that a recent spate of English/Asian films such as Bend It Like Beckham, The Guru and Monsoon Wedding and it's easy to see why it seems Bollywood is taking over the world.

The exotic and lush style, centring around dramatic plots, is what inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber to get involved in Bombay Dreams, written by A R Rahman, one of India's best-loved writers.

So popular is the show (www.bombay dreamsthemusical.com) that the Queen has chosen to see for herself what all the fuss is about with a visit on October 31, to help raise funds for the British Red Cross.

The show's site gives you song previews, introduces cast members - including charismatic lead actress Preeya Kalidas - and transports you to a dream world with magical dance, ornate costumes and a touching love story.

The Queen's visit roughly coincides with Diwali, the Festival of Light, on November 4. Celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains, it symbolises the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. Go to www.bbc.co.uk/england/ asiannetwork/index.shtml to find events in your area.

The BBC's Asian Network also covers Bollywood in depth, along with news and political events.

For a more academic insight into the industry, the British Film Institute (www.bfi.org.uk) has just produced a guide to Bollywood And Beyond, aimed at A-level students studying film and media.

Get the inside track on relevant films showing in UK cinemas at www.planetbollywood.com There are reviews, top 10 listings, a Memory Lane section and features on the stars. If you want hot gossip about the hit film Devdas, which was lauded at the Cannes film festival and stars heart-throb Shah Rukh Khan and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, visit www.bollywood online.com

One of the best all-round sites is www.clickwalla.com which focuses on the film industry as well as dozens of other issues and events of interest to the UK's Asian community. It was here we discovered a new fitness video - The Bollywood Workout - from dancer and choreographer Honey Kalaria, who promises to help you Bhangracise your way to a better body. Pick it up from www.amazon.co.uk

The main cinema groups are, unsurprisingly, also getting into the act. Warner Village has created a microsite at www.warnervillage.co.uk Here you can learn about Yash raj movies - love stories for hopeless romantics - and Muktha films, which specialise in forbidden love which dares to cross age-old caste divides.

The company has now dedicated Bollywood screens in Birmingham, Bolton, Croydon, Nottingham and London's Shepherd's Bush. Other cinemas, such as Odeon and Cineworld, are offering the same.

To find out what's on where, visit www.bollywoodcinemas.co.ukwww.atimes.com Online Asia Times for all Asian news

www.vieweast.com Online magazine

www.bollywoodchat.com Community boards

www.bollywoodsoundtracks.com Buy your film music

www.e4tv.com Net TV channel with Indian entertainment

www.beena.com Bollywood fan site

CAPTION(S):

SPICE GIRL: Heather Graham dances with Jimi Mistry in Bollywood tribute movie The Guru; HIT: Preeya and Lloyd Webber
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 25, 2002
Words:599
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