Over the last few weeks the attention of millions of cinema lovers in India has been on the once slightly crusty but now much revamped, Mumbai Film Festival. But meanwhile, away from all the highbrow hoo-haa, one of Bollywood’s’ lost children was having a party of its’ own with the sensational world premiere of The Goa Run in the heart of London at Raindance 2014. The screening was a resounding success and the UK film industry’s reaction has started to make waves back in India. The movies director John Owen couldn’t be happier.

I’ve been talking to UK distributors and sales agents ever since Raindance finished. There has already been approaches made to Disney from various quarters which is really exciting.

Raindance billed The Goa Run as `hard edged Bollywood’ with `edge of the seat action’ to match. Indeed Owens’ rollercoaster adventure pulls no punches when it tells the gritty story of a motorcycle taxi driver from Goa, played by Rajeev Khandelwal, who falls in love with a beautiful and beguiling drug smuggler from London. This out-and-out commercial feature was originally produced by UTV Spotboy but got lost in the long grass during Disneys’ protracted take-over of the parent company UTV Motion Pictures.

The Goa Run (aka Peter Gaya Kaam Se) is much anticipated in India and its’ ongoing lack of distribution plans has only added to its’ cult status amongst Bollywood enthusiasts. Indeed, the Vue Piccadilly was buzzing when the movie finally had its first ever public screening, with fans having travelled from all over the UK just to see this unreleased Bollywood gem.

We didn’t have any money to promote the screening so it was all down to word-of-mouth and the buzz of social media. The London Evening Standard billed The Goa Run as ‘the film to go see’ that weekend, which was just amazing.

Run Goa Run - a hard Bollywood filmApart from fans, friends and family, there were high-flying industry folks amongst the excited Raindance audience too.

We had U.K distributors and international sales agents come along and they really had a blast, they were just knocked out by the audiences response and they loved the film too.

Amongst the industry reps at the screening was AV Pictures’ Chris Hainsworth who was impressed by The Goa Run’s sheer entertainment value.

The Goa Run is very entertaining indeed, great chemistry between the leads, a great plot fabulous villains and a great heroine.

Owen says he was particularly chuffed with the reaction from Mara Pictures representative Sanam Hasan who also felt the Goa Run lived up to its’ `edge of the seat’ billing, so much so that she immediately made an approach to Disney for the films UK digital rights.

Mara has handled some pedigree films like Anurag Kashyaps’ Gangs of Wasseypur and Mira Nair’s Reluctant Fundamentalist amongst others. These guys know what works and they can see real potential for the film in the UK and US.

When it comes to clout in the industry AV Pictures are no slouches either and Chris Hainsworth made no bones about his confidence in The Goa Run when he dropped Owen a line the next day.

I can easily see how the film could have performed as a standard Hindi release in the U.K. It’s madness that Spotboy (UTV) fizzled out, having delivered a film that followed through on their vision like yours.

But if that’s the case, then why has this lost child of Bollywood been so ignored? Owen is philosophical.

Films get stuck, sometimes its down to bad timing and bad luck, it’s a fact of life. Slumdog Millionaire got stuck in the long grass and almost went straight to DVD because Warner Brothers couldn’t see the value in the film. Inspired marketing to a global audience by a new owner showed them to be wrong. That is just one of many stories that spurs me on. I have never had the resources to screen The Goa Run on my own, so Raindance has been just fantastic exposure. This film has an audience in the UK the US and India. Back in India they are waiting, we have seen that in the response we had on social media. So it’s great that we had such of a positive reaction in the UK, now we need that enthusiasm to help us bring in a distributor to handle India, then we really are on a run.

Will that be a Goa Run? Watch this space.

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The Raindance Film Festival runs each Autumn in London's Leicester Square.

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