After firmly establishing himself in the West by working with every major movie studio, legendary Indian tennis star and the country’s most successful export to Hollywood, Ashok Amritraj, now has his eyes set on the Asian market.
Hyde Park Entertainment’s chairman and CEO, who recently completed 100 films as a producer, has tied up with Imagenation Abu Dhabi to create a strategic alliance with Singapore’s Media Development Authority, and make cross-cultural productions. Earlier, he had also co-produced an international film with Adlabs,
The Other End Of The Line
, starring Shriya Saran and Jesse Metcalfe, which had an Indian theme.
And now, Amritraj is hoping to have an Indian premiere for his next,
, which stars Richard Gere, Martin Sheen, Topher Grace, Stephen Moyer and Stana Katic in lead roles.
Making it happen
“It could certainly be something to premiere the film in India on an international level,” Amritraj says. “Richard (Gere) is so into India, he’ll definitely be up for the idea, and we could ask the other cast to join. I’d really like to make it happen.”
is an old school action thriller that deals with CIA agents, Russian spies and the secret service at the time of the Cold War. “It’s a throwback to the no-way-out, headstrong thrillers, and I’m fortunate to have got a great cast in place for it. The film’s director, Michael Brandt, has earlier written acclaimed films like
3:10 to Yuma
, so I’m quite excited about it.”
But the producer, who has been making films for over 25 years in Los Angeles, laments that he hasn’t had the opportunity to push India into the Hollywood limelight. “I get thousands of screenplays, and but the ones on India are about its slums,” Amritraj says. “These scripts don’t capture India’s modernisation and growth, and that’s why I prefer to wait for the right kind of script.”
“American writers don’t really understand India and at most, have ideas about cross-cultural romantic comedies. And Indian writers I have met haven’t been able to come up with screenplays that will work with Western audiences,” Amritraj explains.
Plans for India
Having worked with the likes of actors Angelina Jolie, Bruce Willis, Dustin Hoffman, Cate Blanchett and Steve Martin, Amritraj says he has “both his eyes in India” to find a film that will, at the very least, have a great role for an Indian actor.
“There aren’t a lot of scripts written in Hollywood with Indian actors in the lead roles, even after the success of
. But I am hoping to change that,” he says.