Dino Drama Enthralls India, Cops Movie Hits US

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JURASSIC Park,'' Steven Spielberg's lavish dinosaur drama, is frightening India's gigantic film industry.

Only the fourth Hollywood movie to be dubbed in India's dominant language, Hindi, ``Jurassic Park'' is one of the biggest hits this summer.

Indian producers fear the Spielberg spectacle will spur a rash of Hollywood-in-Hindi productions that may trample them in their own backyard.

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``If `Jurassic Park' is any indication, a number of other American movies will be dubbed, and they will cut off our playing time,'' says Santosh Singh Jain, president of Films Federation of India, a national group of producers, distributors, and theater owners.

The Indian film market is the latest industry faced with competition from higher-quality Western products since India opened its economy to foreign investment.

As 150 cinemas across India cashed in on the dinomania for the third week, the Film Federation of India called on the government to impose reasonable restrictions on dubbing of Hollywood films in Hindi.

But many filmmakers would like to see a total ban on dubbing, Mr. Jain says.

While the federation does not speak for the entire industry, it reflects the insecurity of many Indian moviemakers who produce low-grade, three-hour films of musical kitsch with thin plots.

India's film industry is the largest in the world, releasing 800 movies a year from its production capital in Bombay, commonly called Bollywood.

Jain says the technical excellence of Hollywood films is the main threat to India's slap-dash Bollywood products.

``The opening shot of `Jurassic Park' alone has as much entertainment value as an entire Indian movie,'' he says.

``I can see their apprehension,'' says Kundan Shah, director of hit Hindi comedies. ``It is justified. Any novelty item is bound to be seen as a threat.''

The success of ``Jurassic Park'' is also surprising because, unlike Americans, very few Indians know about dinosaurs. There is no tradition of dinosaur toys, and no museum displays a dinosaur skeleton.

But in the first two weeks of its release, ``Jurassic Park'' was seen by 5 million people, and Paramount's Singh says the cost of dubbing and distribution was immediately recovered. By the third week, theaters were still reporting nearly full shows. Eddie Murphy is back

Flash forward to the year 2004: Eddie Murphy has a new movie - ``Beverly Hills Cop 7.''

Well, stranger things have happened in Hollywood, and to actors who can't seem to move beyond one character.

Murphy owes his fame and fortune to the ``Beverly Hills Cop'' and ``48 HRS.''

His characters in both movies and their sequels are the same: Axel Foley as maverick cop; Axel Foley as con man. And Axel Foley is little more than one of Murphy's routines from ``Saturday Night Live.''

Now comes ``Beverly Hills Cop III,'' perhaps the dumbest of the cop trio, but still a movie bound to fill Paramount Pictures' bank accounts.

This time around, Axel tackles a counterfeit ring that uses a theme park, WonderWorld, as its headquarters. There are no surprises, there's no real police work to unravel, and there are no mysteries. It's all very predictable with lots of gunplay, noise, and blood.

John Landis (``Trading Places,'' ``Coming to America'') directed the movie from a screenplay by Steven E. de Souza. Murphy's language is cleaned up a tad in this third installment, but Axel is still Axel. The film is rated R.

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