Kingsley wants to re-establish my links with B-town
After playing one of India’s most respected figures in Gandhi, Sir Ben Kingsley is back on the Indian movie scene with Teen Patti. He shares his experience of working on a full-on Bollywood project, playing Shah Jahaan in his next film and meeting Martin Scorsese.entertainment Updated: Feb 28, 2010 15:13 IST
You accepted Teen Patti, despite knowing that it wasn’t a long part. Why?
I wanted to re-establish my links with the Indian audience and the film industry. Though it was a tiny role, it was an opportunity that opened doors for me to explore how Indian productions work and how the sets function.
It was a delightful experience to work with the icon of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan. The productions here are organised, work incredibly fast and the crew is so efficient and hard working. For instance, a footage that would take us a week to shoot, the production team here manages to complete in just two days.
Would you agree that you were accepted by the Indian audience because you played Gandhi, a figure Indians hold closely?
I agree I was accepted as Mahatma Gandhi. But I’m sure the audience will accept me in Teen Patti too. Actually, after Gandhi, I wanted to return to return to India in a commercial film.
Anymore Indian projects that you are working on?
No concrete projects yet. But I am hoping to pursue the idea of Shah Jahaan and the story behind the making of the Taj Mahal.
I might return to India to film that. Shah Jahan was a genius. I would be playing him. I have seen the Taj Mahal more than once, and it’s extraordinary yet very tragic.
Do you watch Indian movies?
I watch more films made for the Indian audience and some about them, but I have not seen too many Bollywood films. I really liked The Namesake After The Rains. Those are the kind of films I like watching. I loved Brick Lane too.
How was it working with Amitabh Bachchan?
He’s charming, friendly, warm and acceptable towards the hard-working crew around him. He is almost like a walking industry which comes with a great deal of responsibilities.
Any other projects?
I have worked on a film called Shutter Island, directed by Martin Scorsese and Prince of Persia, which is a Disney family entertainer.
Martin Scorsese must have been great to work with?
(Laughs) He is a monument. Though not in the literal sense. He probably knows every single second of footage since the invention of cinema. He’s a legend, not in the academic sense but, but in the way of how warm and intelligent he is. The energy while working on a Scorsese film is very high and contagious.
Martin Scorsese, is a monument. Though not in the literal sense. He probably knows every single second of footage since the invention of cinema.