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Bollywood makes minister Soni's job easier
New Delhi, Dec 26 Tourism Minister Ambika Soni doesn't have to work too hard to promote India as a destination. Bollywood has done much of the job already with most of her counterparts keen to tie up with the "land that produces the mass entertainers".
Soni, who is also the culture minister, can't recall when she last saw a movie but says she knows that the Mumbai film industry is the "in-thing" internationally.
"Bollywood is the in-thing. Most of the countries we sign a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with know about the Hindi film industry. They want to promote tourism through it. They also want Bollywood to shoot movies in their own countries," Soni told IANS.
Citing an example about the Mumbai film industry, she recalled how then Australian prime minister John Howard took out time from his busy schedule to spend a few hours in Mumbai.
"It is one way to promote tourism," she said.
Soni names Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan as her favourite actors. She also seems fond of Preity Zinta and Shabana Azmi. Not only for their acting, but also for espousing social causes.
"She (Preity) has taken up many causes. I liked the way she came forward to take on the underworld," Soni said, referring to the actress sticking to her claim in a Mumbai court where she accepted that she got threatening calls from the underworld.
Soni also named actor Shabana Azmi for taking up social causes. "Popular actors like them should come forward for these causes," she said.
Among the young upcoming actors, she is all praise for Ranbir Kapoor (son of Rishi and Neetu Kapoor) and Sonam Kapoor (daughter of actor Anil Kapoor), who made their debut in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Saawariya".
"I haven't seen the movie (Sawariya). But I saw its promos on TV. They are the product of a different era. They seem very good," she said.
Asked about the news channels focussing on the personal lives of movie actors, Soni asserted: "They are taken over by the film world."
"It has no news value. The channels do it to increase their TRP ratings. This is unnecessary coverage and not important. It is all frivolous and disturbs the mind."
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