She has had three Academy award nominations and one golden statuette adorning her shelf but Marisa Tomei is in awe of India and Bollywood actors.
“Indian actors are hugely talented. They bring their own aura to the performances they give. I have heard of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor, all of the superstars back home. They enjoy a lot of popularity in the US,” says the actor, who was recently seen alongside Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe in The Lincoln Lawyer.
Tomei goes on to say, “Bollywood has made an impact, the world over. Artistes from India have been working in Hollywood since a long time, and now they’re getting the recognition they always deserved.”
Indian films usually have a lot of drama and the character sketching is intense. The number of Indian movies that release in this part of the world has certainly escalated, especially during the period of last 10 years. Although most of their films still cater to the local masses, there are a few films which are made, keeping a global audience in mind, which bodes well for their industry,” she adds.
Her tryst with India doesn’t end here. “I have done a few films which have Indian connections like The Guru and the one (The Perez Family) that I’d done with Mira Nair,” says Tomei, who has seen Lagaan and Gandhi, and even visited the tropical country.
“I have watched quite a few Bollywood films. I had the opportunity to watch the Academy-award nominated Lagaan. It was a brilliant film, with great performances and tremendous execution of the triumph of the human spirit but I have not worked in an out-and-out Bollywood film yet, and I would certainly love to do one, if I get the opportunity,” she says.
“I have also heard about and met many Indian actors. They have their own style of working, but it is mighty effective,” she adds.
Not many know that the actor has also been to India.
“I have visited India once, back in 2004 as a part of an International Women’s Day initiative. Even though, it was for work, I spent some quality time in Mumbai and the other cities, and I would love to come back to India for a holiday,” says Tomei, who fell for Indian delicacies.
“I have already tried Bengali and Punjabi cuisine, and I would love to try South-Indian food the next time I hop into an Indian restaurant,” she says.
Tomei is also upbeat about Indian technicians actively working in Hollywood these days.
“There have been technicians in the past, from this part of the world, who have done magnificent work, here in Hollywood. I had seen Gandhi years ago and the performances that the Indian actors in the movie had come up with were magnificent and were highly instrumental in the success of the movie,” she says.
“(Take for example) M. Night Shyamalan, who has been keeping the Western audiences on the edge of their seats with his kind of movies. He is a class act,” she adds.
Meanwhile, Tomei is busy winning kudos for her performance in the crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer. “It’s really a gritty, dramatic, character based, character driven story. I think people will be surprised when they see it. I really do,” she says.
Quite an unusual film for her, isn’t it?
“I think so too. I think there’s something uplifting about it, even just in terms of what we’ve been swamped with in the cinematic marketplace – you know, the sequels and 3D films. There’s an aspect of it being refreshing cinema in that way. And, of course, it is a throwback to some of the films that I really loved growing up watching,” she says.
Throwing light on the movie, she adds, “You get to go into this other world for a little while. And as much as those giant movies are escapist, this is in its own way too, because it’s a side of LA you don’t commonly see, with a complex story that I think is riveting. I like it when a film stays with you, that it’s provocative and you think about it later. Hopefully, we’ve done that.”
Tomei was also gaga about co-star Matthew McConaughey’s work in the crime drama.
“I think people are going to be really impressed with Matthew’s work. The couple of scenes that I’ve done with him have come out brilliantly and he has put his best foot forward in every shot that he has given. He is bringing his best game to the fore; he is leaving none of it behind. It is a very different role for him and I think the audiences like twists and turns, not knowing what might happen next,” she says.