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Bollywood vs. Hollywood: Have Indian stars finally made their mark in Hollywood?

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By Vikarm Barhat

Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra has plenty of experience of red carpets but this weekend was different. Rather than the usual gala premieres, she posed for hundreds of flashing cameras outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood before presenting a golden statuette to Margaret Sixel, Best Film Editing for Mad Max: Fury Road at the 2016 Oscars.

For many, her presence at this glittering event, officially announced the arrival of Indian actors in the Hollywood big leagues. But it’s been a long time coming.

Diversity was the hot topic before and at this year’s Academy Awards. Director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotted the ceremony over lack of diversity among nominees, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite campaign. And while Indian actors or actresses have yet to win at the Oscars, their rise in American films and Hollywood overall can’t be overlooked.

Presenting an award at the Oscars is an honor reserved for the select few. It comes hot on the heels of Chopra, 33, becoming the first Indian ever to win a People’s Choice Award for her role in US television show Quantico for which she was reportedly paid $4m. Chopra will also star alongside Hollywood heavyweight Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the much-anticipated Baywatch movie.

Over the last decade as Hollywood film storylines and cast have become more diverse, career opportunities are finally opening up to this wider pool of talent. As Hollywood casts its net wider India’s talent is benefiting but how well are they being paid?
Eye on the profit pie

Hollywood’s motivation for this crossover into India’s film royalty is partly a shrewd business calculation by film studios and distributors.

“It’s always about the money” said Suhel Seth, managing partner at consultancy firm Counselage India who is also an occasional actor with cameos in several Bollywood blockbusters.

“As the Indian diaspora across the world gains more economic stature, there’s an urge for Hollywood producers and foreign studios to then also cater to that market.” US film companies see incorporating popular Indian actors and actresses into their productions as a significant opportunity to reach much bigger audiences in emerging markets.

India represents a vast market of English speakers and a huge untapped opportunity, said Mumbai-based Anirban Das Blah, founder of CAA KWAN, a talent management company that represents several Bollywood stars.

India’s own movie industry produces more than 1,000 films a year, and, together with television and media industries, is projected by KPMG to be worth $28.7bn by 2019. There’s a huge appetite for films in a country with more than a billion people, which analysts expect to mean more multiplex cinemas will be built and more Indians will start regularly viewing through digital media.

“In less than a decade the market could be anything from 20 times to 50 times its current size,” Das Blah said.
A growing demand amongst Indian moviegoers for cinema with less formulaic plots and more global themes is also driving change. “Both the context and the craft have altered to suit more diverse palates, which includes the American palate, the American studio palate,” Seth said.

Crossover stars from India are muscling their way in to an industry that has come under fire for being too white — a recent BBC report citing University of Southern California research on Hollywood’s “inclusion crisis” underlined the scale of the problem.

Leading the pack is actor Irrfan Khan, 49, who has done more than 100 films during his career, the bulk in Bollywood. He has also spent a decade working in American studio and TV productions. Khan rose to prominence in the US after playing a policeman in the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire, which swept the Academy Awards in 2009 winning eight gold statuettes. His most recent outing was in the Universal Pictures- blockbuster, Jurassic World, which took in a record $511m at the box office in its opening week.

Khan and Chopra have opened the gate wider for younger Indian actors like Deepika Padukone, 30, to make their mark. Padukone has just bagged the lead in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, where she’s paired up with action film veteran, Vin Diesel.

Indian faces have become more visible on prime time TV too. Nimrat Kaur and Suraj Sharma (Homeland), Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory), and veteran Indian actor Anil Kapoor (24) have all appeared on shows that have been global hits, partly driven by the rise of binge-watching via streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

For many years, Hollywood seemed to hire Indian actors to portray stereotypical parts. Offensive caricatures were common as recently as the late 1990s. “Hollywood is like any other business that has to continue to grow, or be eaten up,” Khan said. “Television and films are flourishing industries in America and they keep looking for new markets.”

Before India, it was all about China, “so Hollywood was incorporating Chinese actors, location, and technicians,” said Khan.

Films like Slumdog Millionaire (2008) helped sell and showcase India to Hollywood heavyweights. “When India-centric films like The Namesake and Slumdog Millionaire came out, they became popular and changed everything,” said Khan. “The entire American entertainment industry started looking at India as a potential new market to explore, and started accepting more stories with the Indian backdrop.”

Big film houses like Fox and Paramount are attempting to offer variety and continue to look for new ground for their stories, said Khan, who stars alongside Tom Hanks in Inferno, due out later this year.

While they’re on the screen, fame and fortune in Hollywood still isn’t bringing in the millions for Indian arrivals. There’s a general consensus among film stars, agents and publicists that Indian actors are not as well paid as US or European actors for comparable work.

Khan, who earned just under $2m in 2015, according to Forbes, said leading Indian actors will make anything from $750,000 to $5m per film in Bollywood.

“For Hollywood films, I don’t get even one fourth of the fee I charge in India,” Khan said. “It’s only when you’re playing the lead in a Hollywood film and you command a wider world market [audience] that you’ll be paid big bucks.”

Seth said while the pay disparity is problematic, the exposure can pay off bigger for Bollywood stars crossing over to American film.  “What Indian actors also gain is a greater brand recognition, which helps them bolster their image and allows them to appeal to a wider international market,” he said.

India’s highest paid actresses Chopra and Padukone have powerful Hollywood agents who ensure their clients get casting calls for films with big names and budgets.

That has boosted their earning power in some instances. Chopra, who charges nearly $1m for her Bollywood projects, was reportedly paid $4m for her Quantico gig.

Big Bang Theory actor Kunal Ayyar, however, takes the salary prize. Born in Britain and raised in India, Ayyar was third on the Forbes list of World’s Highest-Paid TV Actors for 2015 with earnings that topped $20 million.

(This article originally appeared in www.theindependentbd.com)

 

 

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7 Bollywood Actresses Who Rejected Roles Opposite the Superstar Khans

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Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai turned down the offer to work with Aamir Khan. Wikimedia

The Khans of Bollywood Industry, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan are the three superstars of Hindi cinema with whom every actress dreams of working with. On the contrary, various Bollywood females denied sharing screen space with them. We bring to your notice the actresses who turned down the roles opposite these Khans.

Aishwarya Rai

Bollywood
Aishwarya Rai turned down the offer to work with Aamir Khan. Wikimedia.

Aishwarya was supposed to play the role of rich and sensitive Aarti Saigal in the movie,’Raja Hindustani’. She had turned down the offer because of less interest to make a career in films as she was busy with her studies and modeling assignments at that point of time. Starring the Perfectionist Aamir Khan as the leading character of a taxi driver and tourist guide, ‘Raja Hindustani’ became the Bollywood blockbuster film of 1996 in India.

It came into light that Juhi Chawla also dejected the offer due to personal issues with Aamir Khan. It was also reported later that Pooja Bhatt was almost ready to work on the film, but on Aamir Khan’s request to director Dharmesh Darshan the decision was changed.

Juhi Chawla

Bollywood
Juhi Chawla. Wikimedia

Juhi Chawla and many other leading Bollywood actresses of the 90s also did not accept the role of Nisha opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the blockbuster film ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ (1997). The desired role was offered to Manisha Koirala and then to Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon, Shilpa Shetty, Urmila Matondkar and Kajol before Karisma Kapoor gave her approval.

Twinkle Khanna

Bollywood
Twinkle Khanna denied to bag the role of Tina in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Wikimedia.

Karan Johar wanted his best friend, Twinkle Khanna to work on his dream Bollywood  directorial debut for the role of Tina. But Twinkle turned down the offer for unknown reasons.

In fact, after getting unfavorable response from his best friend, Karan reached these actresses: Raveena Tandon, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Tabu, Urmila Matondkar and Karisma Kapoor for the same role, but to no avail. Finally, Rani Mukherjee was bagged in for the role of Tina changing her fortune forever.

Shilpa Shetty

Bollywood
Shilpa Shetty denied the role opposite the khans

Shilpa Shetty made her acting debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the booming crime thriller ‘Baazigar’ in 1993. She was the first choice of the director duo Abbas-Mustan to play the leading female in the movie ‘Baadshah’ (1999). She kept delaying the film and lastly dejected to work on it.

Kareena Kapoor

Bollywood
Kareena Kapoor turned down the offer to work with Shahrukh Khan. Wikimedia.

Karan Johar desired to produce ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ with Kareena Kapoor under his production banner Dharma Productions. He had directed her in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001). When Karan approached Kareena for the film, she quoted an incremented fee as her remuneration equivalent to Shahrukh Khan’s. Karan refused to fulfill her demand and instead signed Preity Zinta. Both Karan and Kareena had a major fight after this incident.

Priyanka Chopra

Bollywood
priyanka chopra made it to the hollywood even after rejecting to work with khans. Pixabay.

Psychological thriller ‘Ghajini’ (2008) is a film which no Bollywoood film enthusiast can forget. The film showcased the 6 packs as history and introduced Indian youth to 8 packs abs. The makers wanted to bag in Priyanka Chopra in the Hindi remake, but she refused to sign the film as she was not very convinced of her role in it. Aamir was impressed by Asin’s performance in the Tamil version and on his request the actress was chose to work on the the Hindi version also.

Kajol

Bollywood
Kajol rejected tork with the Khans. Wikimedia.

Believe it or not, it’s true that this Bollywood film ‘3 Idiots’ saw rejection by the very charming and talented Kajol. The actress was the initial choice of filmmakers to play the protaganist female in the film. But unfortunately, she turned down the offer. The role then went to Kareena Kapoor who herself approached Rajkumar Hirani for the character of Pia. She undoubtedly managed to show out her performance amidst the presence of actors like Aamir Khan, R. Madhvan and Sharman Joshi.

-Prepared By Bhavana Rathi. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

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Shahid Kapoor Applauses Brother Ishaan for Bollywood Debut

By sharing a sweet picture with younger brother Ishaan, Shahid Kapoor took to Instagram for confirming the former's bollywood debut produced by Zee Studios

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Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor and his brother Ishaan Khattar. Instagram

New Delhi, October 14: Shahid Kapoor’s younger brother Ishaan Khattar is all set for his Bollywood debut with ‘Beyond the Clouds’ and Shahid is very excited about his brother’s upcoming and wished him good luck on Twitter.

The ‘Haider’ star took to Instagram and wished his brother by sharing a sweet picture of himself with Ishaan along with the caption,“How time flies. In 4 hours a new star is born. May you fly #beyondtheclouds Ishaan. Proud of you.”

Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor posted his wishes for brother Ishaan on Instagram.

Ishaan is making his acting debut with Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi’s next, which is said to be a story revolving around a brother-sister relationship. The shooting of the film, which was initially titled ‘Floating Gardens’ and has now been allegedly changed to ‘Beyond The Clouds’, starts in South Mumbai today. Interestingly, this is the same Majid Majidi project for which Deepika Padukone had done a look test.

The film has already premiered at the British Film Institute London Film Festival in the competition category.

Produced by Zee Studios along with Shareen Mantri Kedia and Kishor Arora, ‘Beyond The Clouds’ is a story based on relationships focused on human values.

-by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram.  She can be reached @tweet_bhavana

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Just in! Kalki has a crush on this Bollywood actor!

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film "Ribbon", also featuring Sumeet Vyas.

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Kalki Koechlin
Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Actress Kalki Koechlin says she wishes to work on screen with all the Khans of Bollywood, but she has a softer corner for Shah Rukh Khan.

Asked if she wants to work with any of the top Khans of the industry, Kalki told IANS: “I want to work with all three Khans, but if you ask me my favourite, it has to be Shah Rukh Khan.

“Shah Rukh is my childhood crush. I met him few times in real life as well and he is very charming.”

When it comes to a new bunch of actors, she thinks she “will look nice” with Ranbir Kapoor.

“We worked in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ and I really liked him as co-star. He is a natural actor and spontaneous. It would be interesting to work with him,” she added.

The actress is trying to balance her career between mainstream and indie films by working with directors like Zoya Akhtar and Ayan Mukerji in films like “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, along with movies like “Margarita, With a Straw” and “A Death in the Gunj” which were popular in festival circuits.

Sharing her wish-list of directors, Kalki said: “I would like to work with an artiste like Vishal Bhardwaj. His cinema is a piece of art, he writes the story, he makes the music of the film and it’s amazing. I think it would be interesting to work with Vikramaditya Motwane as well.”

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film “Ribbon”, also featuring Sumeet Vyas. It is releasing on November 3. (IANS)