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BEYOND BOMBAY?!?

Aishwarya Rai in the Tamil film "Kandukondain Kandukondain"While Bollywood receives the bulk of international attention (and overseas cinema venues), not all Indians speak Hindi, or care to. A variety of regional film industries flourish, the most notable of which are the Punjabi (in the north), Tamil and Kannada (in the south). Brave the armed border crossing at Amritsar and you'll discover another film industry -- one perhaps even more notorious than its Bombay counterpart: Lollywood, based in Lahore, Pakistan. Happily, all these industries share one thing in common: appreciation for a rousing dance number, or six.

Once upon a time, regional films were considered either the launchpad for Bollywood starlets, or the graveyard for those who failed to hit the big time in Bombay. Lately, however, stars like Tabu, Madhuri Dixit, and Aishwarya Rai have started to change that perception, taking time out from big-budget films to hone their Tamil-speaking skills.

Lest we be left in the dust of the hip and happening, BollyWHAT? takes this opportunity to guide you beyond Bollywood. Hold on to your hats; it's a jungle out there (or a desert or an alpine paradise -- take your pick).


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