Tuesday 5 April 2016

2016: The year of Indians in Hollywood

This year has been eventful for Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone. Both the Bollywood divas have signed Hollywood films -- Baywatch and XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage respectively. However, there are many other Indian actors, too, who have signed American projects. While Irrfan Khan will be seen in the Tom Hanks-starrer Inferno, Freida Pinto is part of an international puppet film, Yamasong: March Of The Hollows. Also, Nawazuddin Siddiqui will have a special appearance in the Nicole Kidman- and Rooney Mara-starrer Lion. Actor Dhanush will also be seen alongside Kill Bill star Uma Thurman in Marjane Satrapi’s next.The Jungle Book, which releases next week, also has a strong Indian connect, as several Bollywood actors have done voice-overs for the movie.

“The presence of an Indian star in a Hollywood film helps in creating awareness about the project. It might even compel people to watch the film in the theatre, but ultimately, content is the king. So, it all depends on the quality of the film and storyline. However, The Jungle Book is an exception, since it’s connected to our nostalgia,” says trade expert Taran Adarsh.
Apart from Hollywood, Indian celebs are also working in other international films. Popular actor and film-maker Jackie Chan is currently shooting for his next project, Kung Fu Yoga, which features several Indian stars like Sonu Sood, Amyra Dastur and Disha Patani. Also, The Lunchbox (2013) director, Ritesh Batra, is making The Sense Of An Ending, a British film that stars Emily Mortimer and Michelle Dockery. Also, Radhika Apte has signed a spiritual fantasy thriller, The Ashram, which also stars Kal Penn, Melissa Leo and Sam Keeley.
“It’s great that so many Indian actors are getting good work in international projects. But, I also want our directors to work in the west on Indian stories. That way, our country will get better recognition, and so will our directors. I think that our film industry has many good film-makers, who deserve to be appreciated globally,” says Irrfan.
While working in international projects earns Indian actors global recognition, does it also help business-wise? “Indians have such a peculiar way of life that most of the people don’t connect with other culture easily. So, the presence of Indian faces in international films immediately helps us connect with the project,” says exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi.

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