Fom talking about Priyanka and Deepika's Hollywood debut to reasoning why Bollywood needs to pull up their socks, Shah Rukh Khan says it all....
At a time when Indians are making waves in Hollywood, Shah Rukh Khan is trying to make his own films make waves in international markets. With Fan, he tried implementing the 3-D face capture technology, quite successfully. Says SRK, “It’s time we make films thinking of a global audience and not just Indians worldwide.”
Taking cue from that, I shoot a series of questions, discussing Indians doing Hollywood films. Candid as ever, SRK cheers Indians shattering pre-conceived notions on a global level, and cautions that Hollywood films might take over Bollywood if things don’t change soon. Over to him...
Ever been offered Hollywood films?
No, I never had Hollywood offers. I can see you are shocked, but that’s the truth.
You always talk about making Indian cinema of international standards with VFX and the other creative elements. Comment.
The bottom-line is somewhere when I watch an international film, I get more impressed by them than most of my own films. I won’t name others’ films as it won’t be the right thing to do. We make 200 Hindi films every year but we don’t come out impressed by our films as much as we do when it’s a Hollywood flick. They also make really awful films but they outnumber us in the number of good films that they make. And I think that comes out of lot of things. One of them is technology which can be handled. I like that part. Because we can do that now in India as well.
Then, there’s a screenplay, a story-telling and a format which is more creative. That I cannot manage, because I can’t start a screenplay school. But I would like to meet people who write good films. It’s high time that we make an Indian film which the world admires like a Life is Beautiful or something that the Iranian directors make. Everybody should say it’s such a good film even if you don’t understand the language.
Do you think we are making strides when it comes to making our films palatable for a global audience?
We too are making some good films. I think Baahubali is a great film and I am not talking about it VFX-wise only. But there’s an attempt to surpass what they do and tell our own story. Imagine a Mahabharat with the VFX of Jungle Book, Avatar or X-Men. It will be mind blowing! It’s an international story. Technology can help us reach that. To make an Indian film universal like Mahabharat or Ramayan or Shiva or we can take our heroes like Krishna. The world knows about them. Or maybe a biopic on one of our great leaders. I wish we could make Gandhi like an Attenborough did. We didn’t have the technology to make-up. Now, we have it and it’s time we start doing it.
Today, there are so many actors who are putting Bollywood and India on the global map. Your take on that.
I think it’s amazing what Deepika, Priyanka, Irrfan, Om Puri ji, Anil, Gulshan and others who may be forgetting, are doing there. The reason why I am not putting Amitji is because he is a phenomenon worldwide anyway and has a girth of work which is way more than any of us. It’s extremely gutsy and I have seen some of their work which is being done. Irrfan’s and PC’s. I have seen some of Deepika’s pictures — she had shown me some stuff. I think it opens doors for actors to start believing in themselves more. More than that, it actually makes West look at India in a way that ‘Wow, look at this talent’. The names that I have mentioned are extremely talented and they know their job really well. They are all international award winners and the finest actors we have had in our country in different times.
Do you think this will bring about a perception change among the global audience about Indians?
The fact is that the world can see us and look at us in a different light. It is not just a typical Indian character at all. It’s about just being an actor now. I see Chinese actors in films. Nobody questions their accents, they are just really good actors. On the flip side of Indian actors being seen in International films, will help take their Indian films to international levels. The Hindi films will be watched a little more because now the global audience is seeing Indian actors in their films too. We have to accept the fact that their films are watched more than ours. We have 1/10th the audience of what the Hollywood films have. Initially, it will help them, their films and their fans and inshallah, soon it will help pave the way for other Indian films too.
Hollywood films releasing in India has proved to be a major threat to Hindi films. Do you think there might be a time when Hollywood might take over?
Absolutely, if we don’t change our technology and don’t change our story-telling format, Hollywood will take over our market. It is bound to happen. We have great actors and technicians but today, everyone’s exposed to international cinema so if we don’t pull up our socks on that, in 8-10 years, they will take over. You are asking me this because Jungle Book crossed `100 crore at the Indian box office. Look at the technology yaar. It’s something you don’t even think of. It is our old Jungle Book and you can remake it with new technology and that’s why it’s so enticing. We need to dress up our films in a particular fashion.
Most of the Indian films that do great business is because of superstars. Agree?
We are the last surviving film industry and as harsh it may sound, film industries only survive because of superstars. Whichever country or nation doesn’t have a superstar doesn’t have a film industry. You can check, it’s more like an unsaid thing. The only reason that Indian cinema has gone on for so long is because here, you have the culture of people loving actors as their own. We are the second youngest country in the world. Having said that, if the new generation is not able to hone up your technique and screenplay specifically, then there’s something wrong.
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