MUMBAI: Often accused of ripping off plot lines from Hollywood, it was perhaps only a matter of time before India's Bollywood launched its own "Walk of Fame" in the style of Los Angeles' iconic boulevard.
Indian cinema's "Walk of the Stars" was officially opened on a seaside promenade in the Bandra district of Mumbai, the country's entertainment capital -- the first of two competing projects under way in the city.
Like the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Mumbai's new pathway will bear handprints and signatures of numerous actors -- along with a handful of life-size brass statues depicting some of the Indian greats.
From one of Bollywood's acting dynasties, movie star Kareena Kapoor was the main guest at the launch in a nearby hotel, where she unveiled a statue of her legendary grandfather, the late Raj Kapoor, sitting on a bench.
"I think people should come to actually dance with the stars. Some stars that are not here today with us, we can get to dance with them, touch them, feel them and actually realise what they were".
Describing herself as a "proud granddaughter", she and her father, actor Randhir Kapoor, perched with the statue for photographs -- as fans will soon be able to do on the promenade.
"Acting is something that the Kapoors have just lived for. Cinema is something that is in our veins, it's in our blood, and we're very, very proud to say that," she said.
The Kapoor family are the first to be honoured on the street "because they're technically the first family of Bollywood," said Nikhil Gandhi, business head of the UTV Stars television channel that has set up the walkway.
"We thought it would be a good idea for us to create something as a tribute to the biggest superstars of the industry," he told AFP. "The idea is to get fans closer to the superstars."
Not all of Bollywood's biggest names are backing the project, with a rival walkway, initiated by actor and architect Ritesh Deshmukh, also in the works in the same area of the city.
Deshmukh said he has signed up 20 stars for his own path of fame, including Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan, two of India's favourite film stars.
"I started collecting hand prints of actors over the past 10 months and these hand prints will be placed at Bandra promenade," Deshmukh told AFP. "The place will be called 'Legends Walk'."
Gandhi of UTV Stars said he had heard about Deshmukh's project but denied there was any rivalry. "It's not about 'may the best man win'. It's a free of charge thing," he said.
Local residents at the launch hoped the venture would add to the ongoing beautification and development of the Bandra neighbourhood, which is home to a number of film industry figures.
"People will come from faraway places to visit," said Kishori Pai, a 64-year-old housewife. "The promenade is very nicely done."
The original Walk of Fame in Hollywood was established in the 1950s and now displays more than 2,000 stars, drawing millions of visitors every year.
Bollywood has a history of remaking Hollywood's films in the Hindi language, often with virtually identical plots, characters and even musical scores.
In one of several instances, US studio 20th Century Fox submitted a 1.4-million-dollar claim in 2009 against India's BR films over the flick "Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai", alleging it was an illegal remake of "My Cousin Vinny".
The case was settled out of court. AGENCIES