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DAY 1241 Amitabh Bachchan Blog
My participation in Baz Luhrmann’s film ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a mere one scene appearance as a friendly gesture. Baz Luhrmann during his private visit to India last year, had dropped by my office to meet me and presented me with some paintings of a prominent painter that was accompanying him. He called last month and wondered if I would do this small role in his film and I agreed. It is a gesture. I have refused any remuneration on this too.
As to why Baz chose to ask me, is something that perhaps he would be better placed to answer. I have gone down to Sydney and had a preliminary reading of the script with the entire cast and done hair makeup costume rehearsals. It has been a wonderful experience to be a part of their system and to observe with what detail and diligence they work.
The West and in particular Hollywood is of course aware of the Indian Film Industry. Whether this little presence of mine is designed to open up ‘flood gates for more actors and collaborations’, would be utterly presumptuous by any reckoning on my part. I would imagine if and when there is a need in their stories for someone from India to be tapped they shall do so ; you have rightly observed some of the artists from here that have.
Whether the presence of Indian actors in Hollywood films shall bring worldwide acceptance for our actors remains to be seen. I do believe that this phenomenon already exists. Indian actors are a recognizable force outside Indian shores as well. I may be wrong in my assessment here, but it has been statistically proven that a larger number of the world population watches Indian movies as opposed to Hollywood – 3.8 billion to 3.2 billion. Indian films have been a significant part of the lives of various countries, prominently in regions that have hitherto remained unknown or unaccounted for –the entire North African belt from Morocco to Egypt down to Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius and the East African coast to Nigeria and many central African nations, the Middle East, Far East, Russia and now China, Japan and Korea as well, not to mention the traditional USA, UK and Europe markets where a large percentage of our expatriates reside.
Stars from India getting global celebrity managers is an individual decision. Perhaps you are unaware, but many already do. Hollywood is a richer entity and has the advantage of a more universal language, but there are several examples that I have been personally witness to, where the Indian star, with all due respect, has garnered greater notice than his Hollywood counterpart.
At the end of the day we must remember a most basic fact. We are the Indian film Industry and they Hollywood from America. There shall always be a prominence to American actors in Hollywood, just as there is a prominence of Indian actors in Indian films. A ShahRukh, Salman or Aamir may well be an unknown face in one of the towns in Mid West USA, but so would a Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise in Yevatmal or Giridih. How many foreign stars have you noticed gaining prominence in Hollywood apart from that odd Omar Sharif, Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee ? Even British artists, which really should be considered, nation wise, as individuals from the same community, have a limited presence. And how many Hollywood stars do we see in our films ? Forget Hollywood, even artists from regional cinema in India have a rare presence in our own films – Hindi film artists in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam or Bengali films and vice versa.
What would you think … makes sense ..?
Love to all ..