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India's Bollywood Film Producers End Strike

In India, Hindi film producers have ended a two-month strike triggered by a dispute with multiplex cinemas over profit-sharing. The strike led to huge losses for the Hindi film industry, popularly known as Bollywood. It also caused massive disappointment in a country where Bollywood films are a craze.

Movie-crazy audiences across the country sighed in relief when film producer Mukesh Bhatt announced the end of the strike Friday morning.

"The good news to my audiences is that the deadlock is finally over. The embargo which was happening between the [multi]plexes and the film producers has now finally come to an end," he announced.

Since April, Bollywood film producers had halted the release of new Hindi films demanding a higher share of profits from multiscreen cinemas.

The strike took place in the summer holiday season, when movie fans eagerly wait for the release of big budget productions casting popular stars.

After lengthy negotiations, film producers have announced that audiences will not have to wait much longer. They said a settlement over distribution of profits with owners of multiplex theaters has paved the way for a number of new releases next week.

Bollywood films, usually emotion-packed stories peppered with song and dance, are a rage across India. Most of the films are now released at multiplex cinemas, which have boomed in recent years, and account for more than two-thirds of the ticket revenue generated by the movie industry.

On their part, multiplex cinema owners are hoping that theaters will be packed when new films are screened so they can recover some of the losses incurred in the last two months.

Film producers and owners of multiscreen cinemas are also expressing hope that with the strike behind them, they can focus on other issues of concern to the industry.

Deepak Ashar is the spokesperson for the multiplex association of India.

"We can focus our energies on doing things which are good for the industry as a whole, including for example tackling the piracy issues, or tackling the regulatory regime particularly high entertainment tax levels," he said.

Piracy causes huge losses to the Hindi film industry as infringement of copyright laws is rampant in India. The industry has also lobbied the government to lower taxes levied on movie tickets.

The Bollywood film industry is the world's most prolific movie industry, producing about 900 films a year. The films are popular not only in India, but in several Asian countries.