You should have been here in Toronto last night. (Thursday) Downtown Toronto was a madhouse.
Thousands upon thousands of Bollywood fans lined the street. Yonge street had to be shut down.
It was the first Bollywood premier to be held outside of India, and it was an incredible success!
Bollywood's "Guru" makes its premiere in Toronto
Fri Jan 12, 1:41 PM ET
TORONTO (Reuters) - Two of India's hottest movie stars took Canada by storm on Thursday night with the launch of "Guru" the first Bollywood film to premiere outside India.
Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai were greeted by about 1,000 giddy, shrieking fans amid a blaze of camera flashes and TV lights at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theater Center in downtown Toronto.
Top Bollywood director Mani Ratnam and composer A.R. Rahman were also on the red carpet.
Before being whisked into the screening, Bollywood's royalty -- nicknamed "India's Brangelina" after Hollywood royalty Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie -- stopped to wave and blow kisses to fans, many of whom had waited for hours waiting for a glimpse of the pair.
"The Indian film industry, as you know, is the largest film industry in the world. And we want to reach out to the audience overseas," Bachchan told TV reporters outside the theater.
"So it's wonderful to come here in person and actually premiere a movie -- you know, mainstream," said Rai.
"Guru" is a rags-to-riches love story starring Bachchan as a man who becomes a major force in the business community. Rai, a former Miss World who is rumored to be Bachchan's fiancÚ plays his wife.
While there is speculation the film was inspired by the story of Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India's leading industrialists, organizers say it's really a story about any Indian who started from scratch and made it in the world.
Organizers said Toronto was chosen for the premiere because it is cosmopolitan and because "Never Say Goodbye," another Bollywood film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, got a stellar reception.
The gala crowd reportedly far outnumbered that for Brad Pitt's film "Babel," which has been nominated for an Oscar.
"We have been watching Mani Ratnam's films for a long, long time," said Roger Nair, the film's Canadian distributor. "It's time every body could watch it now."
Premiering the film in Toronto also made sense because South Asians comprise the city's second largest visible minority group behind ethnic Chinese.
For fans like Angelica Gupta it was a way to link South Asian communities in Canada and India.
"It's a really big deal, and everyone cares," said Gupta.
Official statistics are scant, but it has been reported the Bollywood film industry is the biggest in the world in terms of viewers, with an audience of more than 3 billion, compared with Hollywood's 2.6 billion in global ticket sales.
India's film industry, valued at about $1.75 billion in 2006, is forecast to nearly double to $3.4 billion by 2010, according to estimates by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In Canada, Bollywood's profile has been boosted by the work of Indo-Canadian filmmakers like Deepa Mehta, whose latest movie ,"Water," has been selected as the official foreign-language entry from Canada at this year's Academy Awards.
Thursday's premiere is expected to help bolster Bollywood's profile in North America, as well as that of the film's stars.
Rai, 33, has already achieved fame outside India by starring in films like "Bride and Prejudice," a Bollywood version of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."
Bachchan, 30, is the son of Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan and his wife, Jaya, who is also an actress.