HIV hits India’s big screens

AIDS-savvy cinema has made a tardy debut in Bollywood—Bombay’s celluloid factory, famed for outlandish musical numbers and its global dominance in film production (twice that of Hollywood). Indeed, Bollywood had long skirted the HIV issue, despite India’s skyrocketing infection rates, second only to South Africa. But in June, it released Phir Milenge (We Will Meet Again), which transforms megastar Salman Khan into a PWA songster who falls in love with a female advertising exec. In a Philadelphia-esque twist, she loses her job to AIDS and hires a hunky attorney to battle the injustice in court. Several actors nixed Khan’s role before he signed on—flicking at India’s cultural stigma. With any luck, the film will push AIDS talk into the spotlight before India’s positive population exceeds five million. Pass the chutney popcorn.