Swine flu deaths halt Bollywood releases


June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM EDT

The release of two high-profile Bollywood films has been postponed after swine flu forced the closure of cinemas in the Mumbai area, their producers said on Wednesday.

UTV Motion Pictures and Indian Films said "Kaminey" (Scoundrel) and "Life Partner" would not open as planned on Friday in Mumbai, two neighbouring districts or in the city of Pune because of rising swine flu cases.

Two people in Mumbai have died after catching the A(H1N1) virus, while Pune, 120 kilometres (75 miles) away, has had eight deaths -- the largest number in India.

A total of 17 people with swine flu have died since August 3, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

The Maharashtra state government on Wednesday ordered cinemas to shut for three days to try to prevent further infections.

Schools and colleges have been told to close for a week.

UTV Motion Pictures chief executive Siddharth Roy Kapur, said in a statement that "Kaminey", starring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, would open across India and the world as planned on Friday.

But he added: "This will not include the markets of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai following the directive given by the government.

"We look forward to releasing the film in these regions as soon as the cinemas are given permission to re-open. Being a corporate we are fully insured for the two-day delay we are facing in these markets."

The chief executive of Indian Films, Sandeep Bhargava, said they also planned to release "Life Partner" in the areas affected by the closures on Sunday, if the government granted permission.

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