Saavn sets Bollywood singing contest

U.S. fans can compete online for a role in an Indian film

NEW YORK -- Call it Bollywood Idol.

Saavn, a digital marketer and distributor of Bollywood entertainment, will host a singing contest for Bollywood fans in the U.S. this summer.

Fans will be able to watch contestants' videos and vote for their favorites online at The 10 contestants with the highest number of votes will move on to become finalists and, eventually, one winner will be selected by an Indian movie studio for a role in an upcoming Bollywood film. The contest is sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

The contest comes at a time when Bollywood films and music are receiving more recognition and reach in the U.S., thanks in part to the success of films like Oscar-winner "Slumdog Millionaire."

Saavn says it holds exclusive rights to more than 70% of contemporary Bollywood film and music releases to digital outlets. The company appointed former HBO executive Rishi Malhotra as president and COO in April, and in May it signed a deal with video service Hulu to distribute contemporary Bollywood films online, making Bollywood programming more accessible for a wider audience.

Live auditions for the singing contest will be held July 11-12 in New Jersey and California. Bollywood hopefuls from other states can enter by uploading audition videos to The deadline for video entries is July 28, and voting ends on Aug. 5.
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