New Moon opening night: In India, a teen's online petition brings series to the big screen

New Moon opening night is Dec. 4 in India. The first movie, which Ritisha Mishra petitioned for, opens Nov. 20.

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Indian fans of the books never got to see the first film in theaters. Outraged, a 15-year-old Calcutta girl named Ritisha Mishra launched an online petition last year to get the film released in India, eventually attracting more than 1,700 signatures.

"Actually, 1,700 – that's not a lot. I looked at online petitions that people in other countries have made and they have tens of thousands," says Ms. Mishra. Her friends, many of whom are also big fans and signed the petition, "started treating it as a joke and didn't think it would work."

That's until film distributor PVR e-mailed Mishra, then phoned her. The company saw her petition and said it would bring the first film to India Nov. 20, followed by the sequel on Dec. 4.

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"It feels very good that they listened to us," says Mishra.

For all her efforts, the series is just one of her favorites, alongside the Harry Potter books and authors Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown. It's the lead characters, Edward and Jacob, that kept her turning the more than 400 pages of the first book in a day's time – though "Edward is a bit annoying because he's so monotonous and so repetitive. I mean, no one can be that perfect."

In addition to Mishra's online petition, here's another factor that probably caught PVR's eye: The series has sold 270,000 copies in India.

"In India, that's phenomenal," says K.D. Singh, owner of The Book Shop in New Delhi. He says Indian and expatriate women of all ages come in to his shop to buy the books, but they rarely branch out and buy other titles.

Asked if the vampire concept is foreign to Indians, his eyes light up and he explains that, in fact, an ancient Sanskrit story still popular as a Sunday morning cartoon in India made its way to Europe more than 200 years ago under the title "Vikram and the Vampire." As usual, India has a claim to be first.

The books have so far not been translated into local Indian languages, but "New Moon" will be released on some 150 screens in English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telegu.

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