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Asterix on Indian screens

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Delhi (UNI): Asterix fans in India will end their wait for the newest film based on the popular French comic book when Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra hits cinemas across the country this Friday. The story of the Gaulish heroes being roped into a wager between Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Roman Emperor Julius Caesar comes to Indian screens in Hindi and Tamil along with English.

The film based on the comic series created by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo will be released in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Coimbatore, according to Inderjeet Singh Bhatia of Innovision, its distributor in India. Tamil prints outnumber both Hindi and English prints following the success of the first Asterix film, Asterix and Obelix Takes on Caesar, in Tamil Nadu three years ago. Mission Cleopatra is released with 30 Tamil prints compared to 12 in English and 10 in Hindi.

The French Embassy, which is supporting the distribution of the film in India, has borne half of the dubbing costs. French Ambassador Dominique Girard was among the audience when the English version of the film was premiered at the International Film Festival of India in Goa last December. The Matrix:Revolutions star Monica Belluci plays Clepoatra in the film, which has Christian Clavier as Asterix and Gerard Depardieu as Obelix. Asterix and Obelix are drawn into the scene after Cleopatra enters into a bet with the Roman Emperor that she can build a magnificent new palace in just three months.

About 15.5 million people out of the French population of 60 million watched the film, which has so far grossed 105 million dollars worldwide. Shot in Malta, Morocco and France, the film directed by Alain Chabat (who also acts as Caesar) needed the services of 2,000 extras, 5,000 Roman sandals, 1,500 wigs and 350 pearls in one cup of Cleopatra's bra alone. They are joined in the film by 1,500 doves, 41 horses, 19 cats, 17 frogs, 12 boars, 3 crocodiles and 1 donkey.

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