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Shah Rukh KhanTime Indian cinema gets recognised on its own merit: Shah Rukh Khan
20th Dec 2005  15.37 IST
By Agencies  

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has said it was high time that Indian cinema break its shackles to let the world know that the country was "not just an exotic nation of snake charmers" and get recognised on its own merit.

"I think it is the time that our film industry to get recognised on it's own merit. It is time that Indian films and film makers and the audience do not have to be on the periphery of world cinema," SRK said in London Monday night.

"I think and I believe we are as good as it gets. I want everyone to know that and that would happen if we all believe that we are not just an exotic nation of snake charmers but a media literate and educated upcoming economy," the actor, whose film Paheli is vying for an Oscar nomination, said.

SRK, who was on his way to Los Angeles to lobby for the Oscar nominations, said Indian films had so far got only "a small opportunity and a little window globally".

"Our effort is to make it a world-wide phenomena."

Interacting with a group of Indians at the Nehru Centre in London, SRK, who turned 40 last month, said that a long road lay ahead before him and winning laurels at home was more satisfying than getting an Oscar.

"When I received Padma Shri award from the President, I was so humbled that I personally did not think I had done enough and I think I have a long long way to go," he said.

Speaking about India's Oscar nominee 'Paheli', in which he plays the lead role, the Bollywood star said, "There is no greater award than the recognition from your own country. On the side if I get Oscar, it is nice too."

Admitting that Paheli, directed by Amol Palekar and also starring Rani Mukherjee in the lead female role, was not a "huge" commercial success, SRK said the film dealt with a "woman's right to make a choice".

'Paheli', based on a novel by leading Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha, is the story of a ghost who falls in love with a woman, then takes the form of her husband to be with her.

A brief preview of the film was shown on the occasion before SRK addressed the gathering and fielded questions from the audience.

Present on the occasion were Indian High Commissioner to the UK Kamalesh Sharma, Deputy High Commissioner Ranjan Mathai, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords Lord Navnit Dholakia, film maker Gurinder Chadha and actor Syed Jaffri.

Sharma lauded the role played by Indian films in building bridges between cultures and projecting India's rich traditions abroad.

'Paheli' beat 14 other films including Swades , Veer Zaara , Black , Parineeta , Page 3 , Iqbal , 'Mangal Pandey - The Rising and Marathi film 'Uttarayan' for the nomination.

Ashutosh Gowarikar 's Lagaan starring Aamir Khan , Sanjay Leela Bhansali 's Devdaas and Marathi film Shwaas were nominated for Oscars in the last few years.

Some of India's earlier entries to the Oscars included Mehboob Khan's 'Mother India' (1957), Guru Dutt's 'Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam' (1963), Shyam Benegal's 'Ankur' (1974) and 'Manthan' (1978) and Mahesh Bhatt's 'Saaransh' (1985).

Shah Rukh Khan
Amol Palekar
Rani Mukherjee
Veer Zaara
Page 3
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