The large crowd gathered on a Khar road probably didn’t know that the man in the golf cap, aviators and spray-painted t-shirt, they were craning to get a glimpse of was Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann.
But taking a clue from filmmaker Kaizad Gustad’s camera crew tailing Luhrmann on a rickety ledge, they guessed it was someone famous. Director of critically acclaimed films, Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann seemed at ease with the chaos he was causing. “I love it here. Every time I come here it’s so intense but on the second day you just have to surrender to it,” he said while sipping a masala mojito.
“Terrible and completely un-Australian events have happened in the recent past,” he said referring to the recent attacks on Indians in Australia.
“The entire nation is disgusted and shocked by what’s going on. Vincent (Fantauzzo) and I took up this creative adventure to bring a positive message to India,” said Luhrmann, who is in Mumbai to paint a wall at India’s first art hotel, Le
Luhrmann and Australian artist Fantauzzo had an eventful first morning in the city as the former caught up with his “old friend AR (Rahman)”. “We’ve always wanted to work together but don’t want to force it either. We find ways to spend time together,” said Luhrmann, who is working on two musicals and two new film scripts, one of which is an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Luhrmann also spoke about his “dear friend” and actor Nicole Kidman whom he cast in Moulin Rouge, Australia and in a Channel No 5 advertisement. “She constantly faces fear and is ready to fall on her face only to rise again. She has daring. She is both iconic and human,” Luhrmann revealed.
Kidman was last seen in his historic epic Australia, a film he made so that his “circus children” get to know their country
of birth. “My kids travel with us. We live in Paris and New York but even though they have international wings they need to know where their centre is,” he explained.
The duo is headed to Rajasthan next, which they intend to photo-document while biking through the desert city. “Riding forces you to engage with people. On a bike you stop being a brand. It’s the best way to participate in peoples lives,” Luhrmann said.