Chances are that Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, Jake Gyllenhaal or Ewan McGregor wouldn’t be mobbed on the sands of Chowpatty in Mumbai. Sure, the regular Hollywood watchers would recognise them, badger them a bit but not the man on the street.
Similarly, there is slim chance that Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Tea Leoni or Naomi Watts would be chased for autographs at the Gateway of India.
Fan followings of Hollywood stars in India, according to representatives of the major international film distributing companies, are extremely rigid and loyal, despite the advance of trends and years.
In fact, some stars have a larger following in Asia, than in the U S or Europe. For instance, Troy or Mr and Mrs Smith may not have exactly created box office history in the U S, but they did outstanding business in Asia, especially in India.
The favourites in India, in the metros as well as the smaller centres or the townships, are:
Brad Pitt: Adored for his Adonis looks, tabloid titbits and a cool, casual Steve McQueen attitude.
Top winners: Burn After Reading, Ocean’s 13, Troy, Mr and Mrs Smith, The Mexican.
Angelina Jolie: Pretty much the First Lady with Pitt. The current role model for quite a few of our Juhu heroines.. her hair, make-up and costumes are copied to the last curl, airbrush and button. The fruity lips are a turn-on, particularly for the multiplex audience.
Top winners: Changeling, A Mighty Heart, Tomb Raider (I and II), Mr and Mrs Smith.
Tom Cruise: Mooned over for his chocolate boy looks, long innings in a variety of roles, gossip which tends to favour him over his wives, and his name which is even quoted in our film dialogue (Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum). Never mind then his couch-jumping act at The Oprah Winfrey Show, or a host of Razzy-deserving performances.
Top winners: Missions Impossible, Minority Report, Jerry Maguire, War of the Worlds.
In Hollywood, he could make a movie on global warming and
cuddle up with bigtime ramp models but back here, he’s still the blonde cutie who froze to death in the Atlantic for his beloved in
. DiCaprio’s earlier terrific performance in
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
(Oscar nominated) went by unnoticed.
The Departed, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, Catch Me if You Can, Titanic
The governor of California is still remembered for his ‘Astalavista, baby’ as the gun-toting robot in
. Yup, he’s boss, especially in the small towns.
Commando, Terminator 2, True Lies.
: Hong Kong’s successor to Bruce Lee, has combined action and comedy in so many movies that he’s practically become a local resident. Ask four-and-a-half-minute Mallika Sherawat.
Rush Hour 1 and 2, Police Story, The Myth.
Julia Roberts: She’s a brand name with her great wide smile, willowy frame and efficient histrionics.
Top winners: Pretty Woman, Sleeping with the Enemy, Erin Brockovich, America’s Sweethearts, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Notting Hill.
Sharon Stone: A perennial hottie on the video circuit even in remote villages. She may have passed her prime, but out here, she is the gori sex symbol No. 1.
Top winners: Basic Instinct 1 & 2, Sliver, The Specialist.
Daniel Craig: The new 007 still takes time getting used to, but all those posters around town when The Quantum of Solace released made sure this secret agent wouldn’t remain a secret. It’s a pity no one recalls him here from Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth or any of his dramatic movies.
Top winners: Casino Royale, The Quantum of Solace.
Sean Connery: He did several movies after his last Bond flick, Never Say Never Again (1983), but this bearded hottie is remembered for little else.. the critics though love everything he does.
Top winners: Dr No, From Russia with Love, Diamonds Are Forever, Untouchables.
Sylvester Stallone: He delivered punches with a quiet menace in the Rockys and Rambos and now he’s doing a Hindi movie with
our very own Kareena Kapoor. How much more India-friendly could this 53-year-old get!
Top winners: Rambo, Rocky, Cliffhanger.