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Editorial: Bollywood's distant Hollywood dream

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By: Sunil Noronha
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Much haloo-baloo has been made the move that Bollywood has been making towards Hollywood. The entire issue was brought back to play when Lagaan were recommended for the Best Foreign Film Oscar followed by Rang De Basanti. As a matter of fact, Lage Raho Munnabhai producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra was fumed at the fact that RDB was chosen over the second Munnabhai installment that he entered the film in seven categories as an independent entry. A little while before this was the most Hollywoodesque film ever Krrish making waves for it technical quality. Almost right out of a Spiderman movie, Hritik Roshan unleashed India's first ever superstar and to a great response.

Today it has crossed its silver jubilee of running and has grosses well over 150 crores - the highest ever grossing movie. But all of this is not as much news as the most recent endeavours towards the West are. To top it all off is Salman Khans Hollywood debut with actress Ali Larter. The much-publicized film seemed to be a dampener - not what was expected from the film, it being Sallu Bhai's big Hollywood debut and all. Another one to make almost similar inroads is none other than Aishwarya Rai.

She was the first one to go on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She was one of the first Bollywood stars to be noticed on the red carpet at Cannes and has been a regular on pictures from the red carpet at Cannes. She has a role in the hit US Kill Bill actress Uma Thurman and has also bagged one in the Pink Panther sequel (one that was played by her most comparable to Hollywood personality Beyonce Knowles). But of all these the only such opportunity has become a reality is that of the Last Legion which from recent reports is lackluster and boring.

Latest to be added to this list is Tabu. Preferred over Rani Mukherjee and Konkona Sen Sharma for her role in the director Mira Nair's film The Namesake, she can surely add the film to her list of credits. The director recently said that she will be pushing for a Best Actress Oscar for the actress for her performance in the film. (Embed video after this line) Tabu, surely one of India's most talented, worked her charm in Cheeni Kum too - a film that worked well with foreign audiences.

Now having talked about those who have people who have tried and failed (or succeeded), lets talk about those who were arguably smart enough to say no and not face the judgment of failing at Hollywood. Hritik Roshan refused a role with Kill Bill actress Uma Thurman due to date problems. Well, I wouldn't blame him for letting success in Bollywood go to his head after that much after that 35 crore deal that he scored recently. Shahrukh Khan implied in an interview that just maybe he is not good enough for Hollywood.

Efforts have been made to rope in the Big B by director Ridley Scott for his film Body Of Lies. If he accepted, he would be opposite Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio but the had to back out because of the film was to be shot during the dates when he was engaged in other shootings. However he will act (rather dance) with superstar Johnny Depp in Mira Nair's next film Shantaram. We sure do hope that we see some competition there. Hottie John Abraham will mark his debut with actress Rachel Weisz and veteran Dustin Hoffman. This one too will be by an Indian American.

The fact that all the inroads have been dug only by Indian American directors shows that there is still not a large awareness of Bollywood in the international film world. But we have not lost all hope for we have had enough success outside Indian shores to boast of. Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri have acted in numerous crossover and foreign films. But we have no cause for worry because all the stars that we have quoted here have maintained that Hollywood is not the eventual goal.

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