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Looking at the real India

bollywood Updated: Mar 24, 2011 14:37 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Some big names from Hollywood will be in Mumbai in the first week of May for a four-day tour of the city. The list includes writer-producer Dr. Neal Baer (Law And Order), producer Dr. Zoanne Clack (Grey's Anatomy, ER), Karen Tenkhoff of Walt Disney Feature Animation, producer Jennifer Cecil (Beverly Hills 90210, Brothers And Sisters, One Tree Hill, Private Practice), the Writers Guild of America’s award-winning writer-producer-director Max Burnett (The Troop) and award-winning film director Michael Nash (Fuel) among others.

Accompanied by representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The World Bank and The Hollywood, Health and Society of the prestigious USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center in Los Angeles, America’s master storytellers will see the city first-hand and meet with some of Bollywood’s top-notch actors and filmmakers in a bid to source original content on global issues pertaining to India for forthcoming TV shows and film scripts. The trip will culminate in a panel discussion between Hollywood and Bollywood writers and producers.

William Sees Keenan, producer of Mallika Sherawat’s upcoming dramady Love, Barack, and development consultant on Shah Rukh Khan’s home production RA.One, is already in the city making arrangements for the trip. He is optimistic that collaborations, co-productions and cultural exchanges between the East and the West will be on the rise following this initiative, with India emerging as a viable shooting location. “The first state dinner that President Barack Obama hosted in office was for the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. This was followed by a much-hyped visit to Mumbai and Delhi. And today, no American is unfamiliar with India,” says Keenan, pointing out that actors like Irrfan Khan (In Treatment) and Anil Kapoor (24) have of late made their presence felt in top-rated American shows.

He adds that after the pioneering Hisss, RA.One has now roped in several American technicians, primarily for the special effects. “After Robot that shocked Westerners with its amazing storytelling, Ra.One is the No. 1 Bollywood film of interest in 2011 according to a popular website Twitch,” informs Keenan.

He admits that India has constantly been presented in western movies as a land of snake charmers and poverty. He adds, “But I’m is hopeful that after their first-hand experience, a picture of the real India will emerge and in a year or two, these age-old stereotypes and jokes will disappear completely.”