By Sugandha Rawal
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan “running around in his glasses and beating up bad guys” long stayed with Tom Hanks and defined the world of Indian cinema for him. The Oscar-winning actor says the vast expanse of Indian cinema and different storytelling techniques still remain a mystery for the West, with only Bollywood making inroads abroad.
“For a lot of years, Indian movies for us were Big B running around in his glasses and beating up bad guys or midgets and stuff like that. We didn’t quite understand what was going on. If everyone starts speaking the common language of cinema, it will start representing itself,” Hanks said.
“Like the cinema from Japan and China have impacted the entire cinematic narrative of the West like ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ by Ang Lee. Those guys are working in American films now. The fact is that we have not just been able to see films outside of Bollywood for whatever reason, or outside Satyajit Ray’s films.
“But it is only a matter of time because people in the United States see everything…All you have to do is be available,” he added.
Hanks has worked with Indian star Irrfan Khan in Sony Pictures Entertainment’s film “Inferno”. And he says he is open to attaching his star power to any Indian project, but would not do it “just to break into the marketplace”.
But Hanks will not be seen as a super spy climbing on the roof of Taj Mahal or doing stunts on helicopters – he’d rather do a film on “stereotypes of public life in India”.
Be it acting, directing, producing or writing — Hanks has explored different arenas of the creative field.
He made his debut with a low-budget movie “He Knows You’re Alone” in 1979. Following that, Hanks became a part of TV series like “Bosom Buddies”, “Taxi” and “Family
Ties”, and TV movie “Mazes and Monsters”.
He got noticed with Disney’s comedy “Splash”, which became the sleeper hit of 1984. It was Hanks’ charm and upbeat attitude that got him instant stardom.
Today, film buffs, irrespective of age group, know Hanks for movies like “You’ve Got Mail”, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “The Terminal” and “Forrest Gump”, “Catch Me If You
Can”, “Cast Away”, “Apollo 13”, “Saving Private Ryan” and “Captain Phillips”.
After presenting a visual treat with “Sully” this year, Hanks is back on the silver screen with Ron Howard’s “Inferno”, which opened in India on October 14, two weeks before its US release.
During a conversation with at a media event organised by Sony Pictures Entertainment, the 60-year-old said he would like to work in Bollywood — but not “just to break into the marketplace, but as soon as Americans start making movies about the stereotypes of public life in India”.
“It doesn’t have to be super spies climbing on the roof of the Taj Mahal or jumping on helicopters to defeat the bad guys. It will be something next (level) and I look forward to it.”
The two-time Oscar-winning star, who is amazed by the bold filming technique in India, said: “The industry in India is sort of like the dream come true. They make a lot of movies, people go to a lot of movies, and there is insatiable appetite for it… I was always amazed at just how dense they were and how they cover more than one genre.”
“I haven’t been approached yet. But if they do, I would love to take up the offer. Chiranjeevi is one of the best dancers in the country and it would be fun to work with him,” he said.
Prod him about the secret to his fit physique, and pat comes the reply: “I’m a vegetarian and I don’t eat anything after seven in the evening. I also have full control over my mind, and it’s been the way since I started off and I believe it reflects on my body.”