The year was marked by the release of several high-budgetfilms such as the $9m Kisna, producedand directed by Subhash Ghai, and the $7m Indian-UK historical epic TheRising, directed by Ketan Mehta.

The industry also endured controversies including the sackingof Anupam Kher as the head of the Indian censors for clearing two controversialfilms, a documentary on the Gujarat riots, Final Solution by Rakesh Sharma, and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit9/11.

At the box office, Murder, a romantic drama featuring explicit sex scenes, was one of thebox-office hits of the year, while the government got behind the promotion ofthe Indian film industry abroad. It led a delegation of producers to theAmerican Film Market and helped to underwrite a high-profile promotion atCannes. It is now considering an optical disc law to help combat film piracy.

Overheard this year

'The witch hunt harks back to the US's McCarthyperiod.' Former Indian Censor Board chief and actor Anupam Kher, on hishounding out of office.

'Lots of kissing in my movies - that's thesecret of my glowing skin! On second thoughts, don't print that, orthey'll accuse me of corrupting the youth next.' MallikaSherawat, the star of Murder.

Breakthrough talent

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai proved charisma works inany language with her first English-language role in Gurinder Chadha's BrideAnd Prejudice. She is now lining upprojects with Roland Joffe (Singularity for Warner Bros), and Coline Serreau in Serreau's remake of herown film Chaos.

Box office snapshot

Highest-grossing local film: Main Hoon Naa (Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision/ Dharma Productions)$7.9m (inr345.9m)*

Highest-grossing arthouse film: Maqbool (Yash Raj Film Distributors) $0.4m*

Highest-grossing international film: Spider-Man 2 (Sony Pictures International Releasing/ SukritPictures) $6.4m**

*Net figure - total is less central and stategovernment entertainment taxes + Average Re. 1 Theatre Maintenance Charges perTicket Sold ** Gross figure \