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Bollywood actor firm on butt insurance

Raymond Thibodeaux Aug 31, 2010
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Word today that the Indian economy grew
between April and June at its fastest clip in 3 years. A part of that growth is in film-making.
Indian cinema, known as Bollywood, is one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. It made $2 billion last year, and analysts expect it to double in the next few years. The rising stakes have led to what could be the next new thing in Bollywood.

Reporter Raymond Thibodeaux has more
from New Delhi.


RAYMOND THIBODEAUX: In the opening scene from the Bollywood hit movie “Dostana,” actor John Abraham jogs along a white-sand beach. It’s all done in slo-mo to make sure the audience doesn’t miss his six-pack abs and his $2 million butt. At least, that’s how much Abraham wants to insure it for.

ANUPAMA CHOPRA: It just sounds like joke purely because we’re talking about his butt.

Anupama Chopra is a Bollywood film critic. India’s tabloids went wild after Abraham’s manager announced that the actor was looking for an insurance company to cover his backside, which made him famous in India.

CHOPRA: But given that his butt played such a pivotal role in “Dostana,” I suppose many people would say the butt is worth $2 million.

Chopra says Abraham’s attempt to insure his asset is the latest twist in a Bollywood trend. He’d be the first major Indian film star to have a body part insured.

Chopra says it a natural outcrop of a new, more corporatized Bollywood. With more expensive films, higher profits, and higher risks, more investors — and actors — are looking for ways to protect themselves from things going wrong.

T.A. RAMALINGAM: Suppose the film is half done and the actor dies in an accident. Suppose the set is destroyed or damaged. The cost of re-erecting the set is covered under the policy.

T.A. Ramalingam is the head underwriter at Bajaj Allianz, the first agency to insure Bollywood films. So is there any chance he’d insure the body parts of actors?

RAMALINGAM: Personally, I don’t think this is of much interest to us. Film insurance does not cover one anatomy part, it covers the whole body.

Ramalingam says it’s unlikely that Abraham will find a company in India willing to insure his butt. But Abraham’s much-publicized search hasn’t exactly hurt his box-office appeal, especially as he goes into filming for… “DOSTANA 2.”

In New Delhi, I’m Raymond Thibodeaux for Marketplace.

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