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Hollywood can learn from Bollywood how to embrace its Culture “naturally”

According to famous Hollywood production designer Jess Gonchor, Hollywood can learn a thing or two from Bollywood's natural larger-than-life grandeur

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Indian movie posters, Flickr
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New Delhi, Jan 12, 2017: Apart from the dance and drama of Bollywood, Jess Gonchor is captivated by how the Indian film industry puts pieces of Indian culture into its storylines. The American production designer (“The Devil Wears Prada”, et al) feels Hollywood can learn from the glitzy Hindi filmdom how to embrace its culture “naturally”.

It is the larger-than-life canvas, splashed with music and dance sequences, that defines Bollywood for many. But for Gonchor, Indian cinema is a reflection of its diverse culture.

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“The movies have bold moves… They embrace what is out there and is inevitable… And also about embracing the culture and representing India as it is. We can do something on the same lines… Maybe we can get the US to learn to take what is out there, what is naturally beautiful in itself, without changing anything,” Gonchor told IANS over the phone from Los Angeles.

Since he speaks so fondly of the industry, how much does he really know of Bollywood?

Gonchor said he finds it very colourful. And even though he admits he’s no expert on it, he feels it is “very saturated and bold”.

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Gonchor infuses life into different stories with his production designs. He entered the industry with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III” in 1993. But he came into the limelight with his work on Bennett Miller’s “Capote”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “No Country for Old Men”, “Burn After Reading”, “Foxcatcher” and “Hail, Caesar!”.

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He also went back in time to recreate the 1920 era for Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night”. The gangster drama, backed by Warner Bros, is slated to release in India on Friday.

“Live by Night”, based on the award-winning best-seller by Dennis Lehane, narrates the story of a son of an honest Boston-Irish policeman who works his way up in the world of organised crime. It is a tale about family, friendship, fate, luck and loyalty.

Along with starring in “Live By Night”, Affleck has written, directed and produced the gangster film. It also stars Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina, Zoe Saldana and Chris Cooper.

Gonchor says creating a contrasting world of Boston and Florida in 1920 was fun, but challenging too.

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“It was a wonderful experience to get to recreate the contrasting world that they are… It was challenging too. Most of the film is creating Florida and Boston in Los Angeles, and LA has changed. It is all modern and it is not even like what it was 10 years ago,” said the Academy Award-nominated production designer.

Gonchor had one point clear when he picked the clean slate to draw upon — and that was his desire to highlight harsh times as well as the goodness among people.

“We tried to create a sort of colder monochromatic vibe of what that time was,” said Gonchor, who was born in New York in 1962.

Affleck has time and again emphasised that “Live By Night” is his homage to classics. Gonchor said he worked on Affleck’s vision of the history, but with some customisation.

The film is creating a lot of Oscar buzz. What are his hopes?

“You certainly don’t work for all these things, but you hope for some recognition in some way because you worked really hard on these things. But I try not to get caught up in all these things. It is nice if it happens… It is true that it is the journey not the destination that matters.” (IANS)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

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Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)