Hollywood bigwigs descending on India

May 27th, 2009 - 2:10 pm ICT by Sampurn Wire  

India appears to be becoming the in-thing among Hollywood and other film circles of the world.

According to reports, Oscar winner Ben Kingsley is a math professor in “Teen Patti” (Three Cards), a Bollywood thriller set in India and England against a backdrop of high-stakes gambling, with superstar Amitabh Bachchan, premiering in August. Another Oscar winner Kate Winslet is reportedly being sought to play Dr. Sophie with Bollywood actor Aamir Khan in an India-partition themed drama. In Bollywood romantic comedy “Kambakht Ishq” (Unfortunate Love) releasing on May 28, nine Hollywood actors, including Oscar nominated Sylvester Stallone, are reportedly participating.

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, welcoming this India-trend of world film industry, says that instead of just focusing on poverty and crime, filmmakers should also explore many finer and deeper things India offers. Planet’s most multidimensional country, fast growing economy, emerging world power, largest democracy, etc.; India has snowcapped mountains, palm-fringed and sun-washed beaches, glorious temples, colorful festivals, rich philosophy and spirituality, abundant historical sites, wildlife safaris, recharging treks, historic trade routes, cultural wealth, etc. Four major world religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism—originated there; while Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Islam have long established history and traditions, Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, adds.

Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Surveillance) is directing “Hissss” with Bollywood star Mallika Sherawat about the legend of vengeance of a “snake woman’. “Bride Wars” (Gary Winick) is reportedly being considered for Hindi remake centering on a big Punjabi wedding. Bárbara Mori, MTV award winner Mexican actress/model, is starring with Hrithik Roshan in a Bollywood production “Kites”.

Reliance Big Pictures of India has reportedly entered into deals with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, Nicolas Cage’s Saturn Films, Jim Carrey’s JC 23 Entertainment, George Clooney’s Smokehouse Productions, Chris Columbus’s 1492 Pictures, Julia Roberts’ Red Om Films, Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions, Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.

Various other India focused international film projects reportedly in the pipeline include British projects ambitious “Indian Summer” of Working Title, producer Leslee Udwin’s “West is West”, producer Graham Broadbent’s “These Foolish Things”, a detective series and a film about a crazed elephant by David Thompson of Origin Pictures, Gurinder Chadha’s two new projects, etc.; and Australian ventures “The Waiting City” by Claire McCarthy, “Bollywood Down Under”, “Family Unit”, documentary “Bollywood Bazaar”, producer Bill Bennett’s thriller, John Winter’s two India-centric films, projects by Anupam Sharma and Jim McElroy and David Wood, etc. Hollywood recently co-produced Bollywood films like “Chandni Chowk To China” and “Saawariya”. Los Angeles based PCB Productions reportedly is looking at mobile gaming to supplement major Bollywood releases for Western audience.

Reasons cited for this sudden passion for India are: Slumdog effect, globalization, Bollywood’s growing technical sophistication and resources, cost-effectiveness, exoticism, irresistible locations, exploding global market for India-centric films, etc.

On the reverse direction of Bollywood coming to Hollywood, Bollywood’s Aishwarya Rai is reportedly starring in the epic romance “Singularity” (Ronald Joffe). In the Hollywood adaptation of the French movie “Chaos” (Coline Serreau), Aishwarya reportedly will be acting with Oscar winner Meryl Streep. Anupam Kher has reportedly got a casting offer from Woody Allen for his next venture. Road Movie (Dev Benegal director), described as India’s “Cinema Paradiso”, has reportedly been picked up by Fortissimo Films for international exhibition. Reliance Big Pictures is reportedly planning “Voodoo Child” by Jonathan Lemkin and “The Things They Left Behind” based on a Stephen King story about 9/11 survivors. Serendipity of India is reportedly developing two international co-productions, one in USA and the other in the United Kingdom. Reliance Big Pictures of India plans to acquire multiple screens in the U.S. and Malaysia and try and exhibit Indian movies.
-Sampurn Media

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