Cinema arrived in Mumbai, formerly Bombay on the western coast of India, in 7 July, 1896 with the package of first ever films made by Lumiere brothers. By 2000, the Mumbai Film Industry had truly acquired the dimensions of an Entertainment Industry, catering to the entertainment needs of a nation of one billion, currently poised on the verge of corporatisation and expected to touch a total turnover of Rupees 15,000 crores.
India remains the only country perhaps where Hollywood has failed to capture the local theaters. The Hollywood blockbusters prefer to dub in regional Indian languages to gain foothold in the Indian market and compete with the indigenous cinema. In a country where Hollywood machinations, with its smart marketing and sleekly made films, have made a dent in India slowly in the last five years. However the concept of Asian Cinema is completely alien. It is interesting to note that while the Asian Cinema has been winning accolades in the international festival circuit, none of the SAARC countries screen Asian cinema commercially. It is not even much known in film society network of South Asia.
The Asian Film Festival is one such beginning in the right direction. The Festival aims to establish interaction between Asian Film fraternity and create a dialogue with the West.
Extending from Turkey to Japan, and divided culturally in the Middle East, West Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Far East, the Asian Cinema is as diverse and rich as its topography. Yet, the Asian countries share cultural similarities, and a common socio-economic scenario. They are plagued by similar problems of poverty, illiteracy, population, lowly status of women. Cinema could be a common bond, which could create awareness about each other among Asian countries.