Second Bollywood hero goes virtual in new mobile game

Tue Feb 3, 2009 5:00am EST
 
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MUMBAI (Reuters Life!) - "Devdas," Bollywood's ultimate unrequited love movie, is set to give India's rapidly growing animation and gaming industry a boost with a new mobile phone game that's based on the silver screen classic.

A few weeks after Indian film distributor Eros International PLC launched the country's first 3D videogame inspired by hit thriller "Ghajini," the mobile phone game based on "Devdas" was unveiled in Mumbai on Monday ahead of the launch of another version of the movie.

"Dev D," based on the classic Indian novella about unrequited love which has been filmed many times, would enable gamers to take on the persona of the protagonist.

"Every person would be able to relate himself or herself with this game and would be able to play the game by donning the persona of Dev," said Mahi Gill, one of the actors in the film.

The film "Dev D," about a rich man's journey through self-pity to self-discovery, is directed by Anurag Kashyap, who is known for churning out hard-hitting movies.

"Today's audience will be able to relate to the film, as it is very realistic," Gill said at the launch.

The filmmakers have set the incidents and characters of the original "Devdas" in contemporary times without changing the plot, and the movie is due to be released this month.

The game is the second Indian offering to be inspired by Bollywood, the world's biggest film industry in terms of volume, and comes at a time when Indians are enjoying more disposable income while the spread of cable TV has also opened them to newer cultural experiences.

Once just outsourcing sweatshops that sketched, painted and digitized ordered content, Indian animation and gaming firms are now aiming high -- claiming ownership of their products and sharing copyrights and profits.

The Indian market is expected to grow to about $1.3 billion this year from about $300 million in 2006, and employ about 30,000 animators alone, says the National Association of Software and Services Companies, the main industry lobby.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy, Editing by Tony Tharakan)