Art & Culture

Bollywood feels so cool hanging out with has-been Hollywood stars

Vinayak Chakravorty
Vinayak ChakravortySep 05, 2016 | 13:45

Bollywood feels so cool hanging out with has-been Hollywood stars

Be Indian, flaunt imported. If that bit is a pan-Indian truth, Bollywood usually does it with greater pomp than the rest of us.

Showing off spiffy foreign-made cars and cellphones is for plebs, so this past week Akshay Kumar chose to unleash B-Town's Flaunt of the Season.

He brought out Will Smith before the media, as special guest at a party he hosted to toast his big box-office run in 2016.

Smith probably needed to loosen up right now - what with the walloping Suicide Squad is seeing all over the world - so it is all right.

Notably, though, he may have been the world's highest-earning actor till a while back, but Smith is mostly trying to rediscover his mojo these days.

That is where the amusing deal lies, you realise, on getting to know how our Bollywood lot at Akshay's do fawned at the idea of partying with the Hollywood star.

Or how Khiladi Kumar, grinning ear to ear, brought out his trophy guest for photo-ops (did fantasies of a Bollywood-Hollywood collaboration co-starring Will Smith play in Akshay Kumar's mind?).

It all spells déjà vu. Hollywood celebs arriving in India has become run-of-the-mill lately.

Jackie Chan with Sonu Sood at Kung Fu Yoga's promotions.

The publicity machinery driving Bollywood glamour would gushingly peddle it as a sign of the industry finally gaining recognition on the international cinema map (which for many still means Hollywood).

The reality, however, could be different. Most of the big names arriving in India are looking for quaint locations to shoot docu-films on environment pollution (think Leonardo DiCaprio) or religious rituals (Morgan Freeman).

Then there are the likes of Jennifer Lopez who would rather make serious cash dancing at billionaire weddings in Rajasthan than shimmy around at filmi parties.

Bollywood can only afford to look at Hollywood names that are past their glory phase while drawing up the party list.

The idea finds resonance when you think of international names coming into our films, too. Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga, for instance.

Chinese superstar Chan gets down to trying some heavy-duty Bollywood naach-gaana under Farah Khan's choreography along with Sonu Sood, beyond the familiar kick-butt drill.

With Chan, the deal is simple - he normally makes the same film year after year. It is a standard action comedy that lets him deliver manufactured-for-fans stunts while playing the good-natured superfighter. Only, the setting changes for a new plot excuse each time.

One needs to understand why Chan has to shoot a film in Jodhpur at this point after filming, say, Armour Of God in Slovenia and Croatia, Who Am I? in Germany and South Africa or Police Story: First Strike in Australia and Ukraine.

Chan is shooting in India only now because this is one of the few remaining mass markets where his brand of action comedy is still a draw.

His stardom has seriously been reeling worldwide and most of his recent releases have failed to match the popular impact of his peak-year hits such as Rumble In The Bronx, Twin Dragons, the early Police Story flicks or the Rush Hour series, to name a few.

Bollywood, it seems, is a good stop when Hollywood stardom starts drying up. Retro charisma, after all, continues to be a rage here.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: September 05, 2016 | 19:30
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