I n an interview with HT City, producer-actor of Indian origin Namrata Singh Gujral talks about her latest movie, Americanizing Shelly, Indians in Hollywood and her bit role in Kaante.
How is Americanizing Shelley faring? Do you have plans to release the movie in India?
It is doing great given that we opened against the biggest blockbuster in the history of world cinema (Spider-Man 3). Our per theatre average was higher than any film that opened on May 4 besides Spider-Man. So that’s cool. I’m sure the India release will happen.
What is the importance of owning a Screen Actors Guild card in Hollywood?
An SAG card is almost mandatory in Hollywood. If you don’t have one, chances are you won’t get cast in anything major. Getting your SAG card can be tough sometimes. Apparently it took Kevin Costner seven years to get his.
Your role in Kaante was rather inconsequential.
It was a chance to work in a film with Amitabh Bachchan so it was a no-brainer. Then again, when you say “inconsequential” you are probably referring to screen time. I think you can be on-screen for the length of the feature but if your role didn’t contribute much to the end product then you’re a glorified prop, in some respects.
How come there are no actors of Indian origin doing mainstream cinema in Hollywood?
Unfortunately, we don’t as a com munity root for our folks as much as other communities do. Latinos for instance will band together no matter what. In Americanizing Shelley we created roles for several south Asians.
Do you visit India often?
I visit when I can. Unfortunately, again the logistics are so crazy. It’s a 36-hour plane ride and I am so bad with jetlag. By the time I am a human again, it’s time to leave! I love India very much and a couple of us from Hollywood are working on a project that will bring us to India for a whopper.
Do you have any favourite actors in Indian Cinema?
Amitabh Bachchan rules! He has the uncanny ability to take a mediocre screenplay and turn it into a mindblowing performance. He’s perfected this great screen charisma. Actors like him are truly one in a million.