After India recently had one of its spacecraft reach the moon, Slumdog millionaire star Anil Kapoor says it’s time for the country’s booming film industry to lure more box office performers to the West.
“I feel that Bollywood is coming of age and a lot of filmmakers are making films that appeal to international audiences, and they are happy films, positive films, they have a lot of fun, and that is what the world needs,” Kapoor shared. The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.
His comments followed the world premiere Friday night at the Toronto Film Festival Thank you for comingthe feature debut of Kapoor’s son-in-law Karan Boolani, produced by the Bollywood star’s youngest daughter, Rhea.
Kapoor pointed to the mix of feel-good emotions and social commentary in classic Charlie Chaplin films as a model for this Thank you for coming, in which Bhumi Pednekar plays Kanika Kapoor, a food blogger who has never had an orgasm, until one night she has to find out who put her there.
“Charlie Chaplin made you laugh and then you had a lump in your throat towards the end of the film, and there was music and his films said something as you left the cinema,” Kapoor recalls. Thank you for coming also stars Shehnaaz Gill, Dolly Singh, Kusha Kapila and Shibani Bedi, who were at Roy Thomson Hall on Saturday night to launch the Bollywood comedy-drama and thrill local fans in Toronto.
Boolani’s film tackles themes of female friendship, single women risking shame and criticism for wanting to remain single and independent, and the pursuit of sex and pleasure by modern single women. Kapoor also pointed out that Bollywood needs to make more films by and for women that will appeal to international audiences.
“I’ve done a lot of films directed by women, and I was a supporting actor, and I just liked the stories,” he argued. Kapoor remembered Slumdog Millionaire, which won the People’s Choice Award in Toronto in 2008 on its way to Oscar glory, with a British director in Danny Boyle, but was otherwise the product of Bollywood talent including screenwriter Vikas Swarup.
“The core of the story and all the actors were brown people and Indians,” he said. “(Bollywood) stories have always been there, but now with the digital age and the recognition we get at festivals and the opportunities, the filmmakers, actors and storytellers are more encouraged to create stories that will reach the world.”