Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan feels that to make Indian cinema more appealing to the Western audience, the film industry needs to get rid of the divide between art and commercial films and collaborate.
“What we lack is collaboration. When I see international films, I see Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg come together and do a ‘Tintin,’ which they have grown up with. A. R. Rahman-saab is already doing that. I think in the film industry there is this talk of ‘art’ and ‘commerce,’” Shah Rukh said Dec. 14 at the NDTV Solutions Summit, also attended by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Rahman and Waheeda Rehman.
“But earlier it was nice — it was called parallel, meaning side by side. Then it became commercial and art, intellectual and stupid. And now it has been reduced to single screen and multiplex,” he added.
The 48-year-old actor also said that the demarcation is not healthy for the growth of the industry and that people should quit looking down upon filmmakers and actors who are doing commercial cinema.
“How much of demarcation can you create? What happens is you have a commercial filmmaker or a commercial actor, who is presumed as not intellectual and if they want to do something arty, they are looked down upon as people, who will corrupt their kind of cinema,” Shah Rukh said.
Speaking on the topic of “How can India win Oscars as well as leverage the considerable global impact of Bollywood?,” Bachchan said though film stars are famous, their fame is not utilised properly. The 71-year-old actor feels celebrities should be given more ambassadorial responsibilities and provided with greater representation by the system.
“There is a huge amount of recognition for film stars. To give an example very few remember, who was the last Indian to speak at the United Nations? But you would remember the ‘Sholay’ and ‘Deewar’ dialouge. It is nice, but I wish there would be more.
“It would be really nice to have the film industry representation in a more ambassadorial way. If we are important enough for our dialogues to be remembered and identity to be created why can’t there be a greater representation. The system should think about putting some of us to represent the country,” Bachchan said.
Oscar-winning composer Rahman, who is known for his successful run in South Indian cinema, Bollywood as well as in Hollywood, stressed on the importance of adapting to the Western taste if Indian filmmakers want acceptability in the West.
“The [West] wants subtle background scores and want the action to speak for itself. There are many things which a composer like me is trying to do in India for past 20 years, I have to switch song sensibilities,” Rahman said.
Lauding the growth of Indian cinema and its wider reach, veteran actress Waheeda Rehman said she is most happy to see the evolution of heroines in films.
“These days I would say that they are improving, while earlier there were sacrificing bahu. Now, it is different. They are more broadminded and accept women doing anything. I am happy to see the change,” Waheeda said.