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Lee Strasberg Institute to Open Branches in India

Compiled/Written by Swati Bajpai
September 2009
Lee Strasberg Institute to Open Branches in India

The Oscar-sweeping Slumdog Millionaire has made Hollywood take notice of Bollywood like it never did in the past. Despite making cash registers ring both at home and among the Indian diaspora abroad, few Indian actors have made it to the top ladders of Hollywood or Western cinema. But that is to change now.

Compiled/Written by Swati Bajpai

The highly renowned and prestigious Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute is opening its branches in the Indian entertainment capital Mumbai and media-savvy Hyderabad.

Lee Strasberg, Oscar-nominated for his role as Jewish mobster Hyman Roth in The Godfather, Part II, set up a school for performing arts in 1969 after years of involvement with the Actors Studio in New York. His teaching revolutionized actor training in the United States and inspired many of Hollywood’s major names from James Dean to Al Pacino and Robert De Niro through to Julia Roberts and Scarlett Johansson.

Rahul Rawail, director of movies like Betaab, Arjun Pandit, and Bekhudi, is the chief executive of the institute’s Indian division. The institutes in India will follow the method acting regimen (the use of emotions and actions from an actor’s own life in the character he or she plays) that makes the Lee Strasberg Institute unique, and also offer courses in directing, cinematography, sound and editing. Courses range from 18 months to intensive six-to-12-week sessions, where aspiring actors could be joined by more established names in the business.

The development comes at a time of keen interest in Indian filmmaking that was growing even before Slumdog Millionaire swept this year’s Oscars. Last week, Twentieth Century Fox announced a global distribution deal for top Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan’s upcoming movie My Name Is Khan, the first time it is to finance and market a mainstream Bollywood movie worldwide.

An increasing number of Hollywood studios and companies are forging joint ventures with Indian movie houses, hoping to tap into a $ 2.2-billion market that is expected to grow at nearly 12 percent every year until 2013.

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