Willard Carroll's love story with India started four years ago when he landed in Chennai for personal work. On that trip, he sat through Salman Khan's Chori Chori Chupke Chupke.
A director, producer and scriptwriter, Carroll was determined to meet the hero with a script. A few months later, Salman agreed to a script reading and signed the dotted line for Marigold -An Adventure in India.
HT caught up with the filmmaker.
Love for India
It is one of the reasons for making Marigold. I wanted to spend as much time in India as possible. We shot in Vancouver only for three days. The rest of the movie was shot in India with an Indian crew and almost an all-Indian cast.
On Salman Khan
He is terrific but an underrated actor. He is easy to work with. He's instinctive and natural before the camera.
<b1>The 'Prem' connection
It was a conscious decision to name his character Prem. I've seen quite a few of his movies. The name he told me is reserved to certain types of roles. In Marigold, his performance comes closer to some of his earlier ones. He also found it a good omen.
On Marigold's audience
The movie is for an American audience. They don't know what Bollywood is. So, I made a behind-the-scenes story. It's an affectionate tribute to the movies here.
Beyond the multiplexes
I'm looking beyond the multiplex crowd in India. The film has also been dubbed in Hindi. Even though I don't speak Hindi, the quality of dubbing is outstanding.
On Bollywood's global success
In some areas in the UK, Hindi films have had mainstream success. But it hasn't happened in the US. Bollywood movies are pretty much confined to the NRI audience.
In fact, many Americans haven't heard the word Bollywood. Americans have a problem with musicals. Film music works against Bollywood films.
On his love for Bollywood films
I've seen over 100 Bollywood films. My favourites are Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Black, Khamoshi, Dil Chahta Hai and Lagaan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is immensely talented. I would like to work with the other Khans too. Ditto Amitabh Bachchan. His was the only name I was aware of before I came to India.