Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan says Hollywood has the potential to take over Bollywood if the industry people don’t work on skills like screenplay writing, marketing, and use of technology.
Shah Rukh also added that there is a “fear of Hollywood taking over Bollywood” in India.
“If we don’t hone up few areas especially script writing, screenplay, marketing, professionalism and technology, we will be taken over by Hollywood,” Shah Rukh said here.
The Indian actor, who has been in the industry for over 25 years, added: “The language is becoming less and less of a barrier…There are more digital platforms and easy accessibility to content from all around the world. Hollywood has done, and we need to learn from them and adapt. There is big fear (of Hollywood taking over Bollywood).”
He talked about the dynamics of Bollywood as compared to Hollywood during a session with American actor Brad Pitt, who made a surprise visit to India to promote his Netflix film “War Machine” — a satirical comedy with Pitt essaying role of US General Glen McMahon, who is tough but over-confident with an only aim to lead his army towards victory in Afghanistan, and win the war. Pitt’s co-production will stream on the US-based on-demand streaming website from Friday.
Shah Rukh, who has won epithets like ‘King Khan’, ‘Baadshah’ and ‘King of Romance’ thanks to films like “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”, “Veer-Zaara” and “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham”, also pointed out that success of international films in the domestic market indicates a shift in trend.
“There are films like ‘Spider Man’ and ‘Fast and the Furious’ which did as well as any other action Hindi films…Language is no longer a barrier as the films are getting dubbed too.
“Indian film industry has to change. We have a college to learn from..They (Hollywood) has done it all we just have to adapt.”
Looking at Hollywood for cues for filmmaking, as the actor asserts, doesn’t mean doing away with singing and dancing.
The “Dilwale” star said: “We have wonderful stories to tell but we are not telling. We sometimes get happy being a fad about singing and dancing. We need to understand the language that Hollywood or western cinema speak, and not change what we are presenting…Singing and dancing has to stay.”
Starting his career from small screen with series “Fauji” in the late 1980s, Shah Rukh entered Bollywood with “Deewana” in 1992, and there was no looking back. The 51-year-old is successful an entrepreneur too. He owns a film production company Red Chillies Entertainment banner with his wife Gauri.
As a producer, Shah Rukh says he wants to push forward films which “producers don’t want to produce”.
Red Chillies Entertainment has a long term deal with Netflix, under which films — old and new — starring the Bollywood superstar will be exclusively available to the platform’s members globally.
The actor feels the Netflix has opened doors for filmmakers to tell their vision with no pressure of theatrical release, and will boost democratisation of filmmaking.
Talking about his journey in the industry, Shah Rukh said it is very important to stay grounded to reality to stay relevant.
“Keep it basic. You keep on doing things which (you wanted to do when you) started off with the urge to stay relevant, being normal, to reinvent yourself. The simple things which made you want to be an actor.”
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Netflix. She can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Sugandha Rawal