Bachchan, a star of more than 150 movies and a former member of parliament in India, was in the United States to be inducted as a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and attend a 12-day retrospective of his films.

"Bollywood is a movement known to Americans only through satire," he said. "That needs to change."

Bachchan said the Indian film industry could use help from American studios.

"We want to discuss how they can assist us. The Americans have a very good marketing system and pattern in place, which can and should be emulated," he said.

Tinsel town

Bollywood - the nickname for India's film industry because much of it is concentrated in the city of Bombay, now renamed as Mumbai - turns out three times as many films each year as Hollywood, many of them escapist musical extravaganzas that captivate cinema fans around the world.

In the US, however, the movies have failed to lure big audiences to megaplex theatres, where Hollywood shows the bulk of its offerings.

Instead, they find much of their popularity among fans of art and independent filmmaking.