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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Go out and show yourself: Steven Spielberg to Bollywood

Afsana Ahmed, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 13, 2013
First Published: 09:37 IST(13/3/2013) | Last Updated: 09:53 IST(13/3/2013)
If the Hindi film industry wants to seriously explore opportunities all over the world, international movie tycoon Steven Spielberg has some advice.

“Do more Indian film-related events in the west,” he said at film industry forum on Monday evening. “For instance, a solid Indian film festival with a robust amount of publicity and marketing would perhaps help the west get access to the movies made here. Also, it’s got to do a lot more with the country being the headlines.”

Spielberg was being interviewed by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan at a meet in which about 60 Hindi film directors participated. How to win the west was obviously top of mind for these filmmakers, and the Hollywood filmmaker had much to say on the topic. “Awareness of Indian films and the abundant talent here is already acknowledged,” he said. “But in the west, we have no access to it. That’s why I haven’t seen too many Hindi films myself.”

With more than 60 filmmakers in a single room (the class of 2013, as someone lightly remarked), the evening was engaging and packed with information, wit, humor and charm, as questions and answers flew back and forth (see Steven Spielberg’s Quote Hangar below).

Amongst many interesting exchanges, the globally acclaimed filmmaker shared how his company DreamWorks came to be associated with Reliance Entertainment Group.

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“Anil (Ambani) and I met in Cannes in 2008 when the global economic meltdown had hit everyone. My company DreamWorks was in bad shape and we will always be grateful to Anil for helping us get back on our feet. We realised we spoke the same language of loyalty and freedom,” Spielberg said.

After the event ended, the international filmmaker personally asked director Raju Hirani to stay for dinner. Dining with his family, Amitabh Bachchan and Anil and Tina Ambani, a curious Spielberg questioned Hirani about his scripting techniques. “I have seen your movie 3 Idiots three times,” he said. “I like its humane and emotional undertones. How do you write?”

While dinner on Monday night was Oriental, Spielberg, who is in India after 30 years, had had a homemade meal on Sunday afternoon at Anil Ambani’s residence. 

The Spielberg Quote Hangar
Thirty years ago when I came to India (to shoot) for Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, I backpacked to see places like Manali, Jaipur, and the whole of north India. But the city of Kolkata stayed on my mind.

I love history, I like to go back in time, and I am also interested in democratic experiences and wars. That’s why I like making movies on these things.

My mother was my first star in the first ever movie I made with a small movie camera when I was 12 years old. I set up two toy trains to travel from opposite directions and crashed them. I captured that on my camera.

Every actor in the world has a comic side to him. Tom Hanks, I thought, could do anything. He has a profound ability for leadership.
To me, some movies are your destiny while others are not. If a movie doesn’t speak to me the way I would want to connect with it, I won’t direct it.

Jealousy, competition are good things to have amongst contemporaries. Coppola, Mendes, Scorsese, de Palma and I try to outdo each other but also inspire each other.

My father pointed out that stars looked beautiful and also taught me that only good things come down from the sky, and bad things come from the earth.
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