There are many stories in our country that cannot be kept in a corner. We have reached a comfort zone, and films are made like projects, with few songs and emotional scenes in place. Whenever I go to international festivals, they start dancing because they think this is how Bollywood is,” said Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who received critical acclaim for his performances in The Lunch Box (2013), and Kahaani (2012). With Anupam Kher, he was speaking at the conclave organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), at Hotel Shangri-La on Wednesday night.
Kher elaborated on the difference in working styles between the two industries — Bollywood and Hollywood. With films such as Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012) to his credit, Kher said, “My sense of responsibility is more while working in Hollywood. What attracts me is their professionalism. Also, during the shoots here, the actors know the spot boys and share a rapport with them. In American films that I have worked for, I don’t remember anybody.” Talking about different approaches, he said, “The culture of cinema depends on the kind of people who are there. When I think of French cinema, it is about depression and sadness, while Bollywood is Indian by nature, larger than life. We are colourful, and laugh loudly.”
When asked about the recent changes that Indian cinema has witnessed in the last few years, Kher said, “The best thing to happen to Bollywood is corporatisation, since 2000. It has got a certain system where everything is now organised and that makes a difference.”
Siddiqui shared his experiences on the characterisation of characters that existed earlier. “When I was offered the role of an intelligence officer in Kahaani, I kept wondering if they were joking because I am only 5 feet and 6 inches. I have noticed that in films, the hero is rich, has a fair complexion and is 6 feet tall, even if he is a beggar. If someone could not go past this characterisation, he would move to serials. This is no longer the case and this is the change we should applaud,” he says.
Kher, who recently made an appearance on The Shaukeens, was asked about Mumbai being a cinematic cluster and the possibility of the formation of new clusters. He said, “Most of our shooting happens in Delhi these days. The infrastructure is in Mumbai but rarely does shooting take place there, except for serials. What we need is infrastructure and studios everywhere, not only to showcase poverty and elephants, but other aspects too. There is much more to India.”