KERALA

Passion coming to town

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM April 24. After wowing millions in the U.S. and becoming a huge success in the Gulf nations, the Mel Gibson movie `The Passion of the Christ' will hit theatres in Kerala on May 7.

The marketing of the movie will be done by the Mar Athanasius College for Advanced Studies (Macfast), run by the Malankara diocese of Thiruvalla.

At a press conference here this evening, the Macfast director, P.K. Abraham, said the students of the college's MBA programme will market the film as part the `experiential learning' process that the college encourages.

As was done by Mel Gibson in the U.S., the film will be marketed "at the grassroots level" and not through an advertisement blitskreig.

Macfast will ask the Government to exempt this movie from entertainment tax, he said.

In his address, the Los Angeles-based producer, Deepak Nayar _ whose company kintop Pictures has the `Passion's' marketing rights in India _ said he expects the film to appeal at different levels to different sections of the people.

"I expect non-Christians too to find something in the movie.

Almost everyone has been Jesus on the cross and they may be kind of curious to know how he got there," he said. All controversies about the film stopped the minute the film started being shown in theatres in the U.S., he added.

Earlier today, a special screening of the film was arranged by Macfest, for an invited audience which included the Thiruvananthapuram Bishop, Soosa Pakiam, the Speaker, Vakkom Purushothaman, the Cultural Affairs Minister, G. Karthikeyan, the former Additional Chief Secretary, Babu Paul, the former Accountant General, Kerala, James Joseph, and the poet, O.N.V. Kurup.

After the screening, Bishop Soosa Pakiam told presspersons that he was moved to tears by some scenes in the movie.

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