Baz spreads canvas from Moulin Rouge to city wall | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Baz spreads canvas from Moulin Rouge to city wall

On January 27, celebrated Australian filmmaker, Baz Luhrmann, will unleash his creativity on a bare wall in suburban Khar in Mumbai, reports Purva Mehra.

mumbai Updated: Jan 25, 2010 01:24 IST
Purva Mehra

On January 27, celebrated Australian filmmaker, Baz Luhrmann, will unleash his creativity on a bare wall in suburban Khar in Mumbai.

The guru of heightened reality in cinema, best showcased in his award-winning films Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, will visit Mumbai with acclaimed Australian artist and friend, Vincent Fantauzzo.

The two are chief guests of Le Sutra, India’s first art hotel, and are expected to paint a mural on the theme of a fusion between contemporary and Indian dance on a vacant hotel wall.

“Cinema is a canvas. I sit with a whole team of artists for each of my projects as that line between mediums is disappearing. Vincent is leading this creative artistic adventure in Mumbai, a city in which I have had some romantic and beautiful times,” said the Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning director over the phone from Hong Kong.

“I first visited India 15 years ago and have returned several times since. It has never failed me. I find a sort of spiritual renewal here. Mother India has given me very valuable lessons,” said Luhrmann.

“Mother India” evidently made quite an impact as after his very first trip in 1993, Luhrmann employed India during the British Raj as the backdrop of his production of Benjamin Britten’s opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“The play had two layers, the fairy or spiritual world and the human world, which in this case was the Elizabethan world. I noticed that Hindu religion plays with similar sensibilities, so while the characters spoke Elizabethan English they had Hindu representations,” said Luhrmann of the opera, which won numerous awards at the 1994 Edinburgh Festival.

Luhrmann’s passion for the Bollywood aesthetic was also forged during his early visits when he accidentally caught a Bollywood film screening with 2000 locals in Udaipur.

“It was set in Oxford about two brothers fighting each other. One moment there was song followed by comedy and then tragedy. The completeness of the experience blew me away. I didn’t understand the language but that was my epiphany to bring this sensibility into a Western cinematic form, which I have incorporated in Moulin Rouge,” Luhrmann admitted.

After Mumbai, Luhrmann and Fantauzzo will ride across Rajasthan on custom-made Royal Enfield bikes.

The duo will display their photographs taken on this journey at an exhibition at the Mumbai art hotel.

“We bear a positive message through this artistic gesture,” said Luhrmann, who is next working on an adaptation of The Great Gatsby.