Friday, June 12, 2009

Bachchan tells Bollywood to stop Hollywood comparisons

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan said Thursday that Indian filmmakers should feel proud of their work and stop comparing themselves with their Hollywood counterparts.

"Sometimes I don't necessarily agree with the desire of Indians to compare themselves with somebody else. Why can't we be proud of what we do?" Bachchan said in the southern Chinese territory of Macau.

"The West is the West; the East is the East," the 66-year-old megastar told reporters here after the opening of the International Indian Film Academy weekend, an annual overseas extravaganza.

"Let's not say, 'Why are we not doing that?' or, 'When are we going to do something like that?' What's wrong with India?"

Filmmakers in Bollywood and Hollywood have become more keen than ever to work with each other following the success of "Slumdog Millionaire", which grabbed eight Oscars this year.

There have been moves to step up the output of "crossover" movies that appeal to both Indians and the global audience.

However, Bachchan, who heads India's most famous acting dynasty with his son Abhishek and daughter-in-law and former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai, said that Bollywood producers had to improve their ability to sell films.

"We lack marketing technology, like how to make sure that (our films) can reach out to the people," he said.

He added that there was also not enough places for people to see films in his homeland: "For a country as vast as India, the amount of theatres we have is pathetic."

Bachchan stirred controversy after he posted a comment on his personal website in January about "Slumdog Millionaire", saying that the movie had shown India's "third-world underbelly".

The comment was interpreted by the Indian media as a slight on Western directors and their perceptions of the country. But the veteran actor has denied he was critical of British director Danny Boyle's success.

The rags-to-riches tale was about a lowly Mumbai teaboy who wins the popular television gameshow "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?".


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