Interview with a Bollywood star!
Hi everyone! I’m in a bit of a mad rush today as I’ve just got home from work at 7.45pm and I have some friends coming for dinner at 8.00 – agh! Luckily we’ve decided to order a take-away so I don’t have to worry about cooking but I do need to get changed and make sure all of Louie’s toys are put away.
Fortunately I have written most of my post today (well, as you’ll see, I didn’t write it all but you know what I mean). I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to wait until tomorrow for the answers to the last post’s homework… sorry! Hope you don’t mind too much.
Meanwhile… I thought you’d be interested in hearing a bit about Bollywood. I mentioned it before and one of our readers, I think it was Mauricio, asked what it was. Well, Bollywood is the Indian version of Hollywood, which I’m sure you’ve all heard of. The ‘B’ is for Bombay, where the movie industry is based. Actually, there are other cities that are famous for their movies in India, but I think Bombay produces the most internationally famous films. Anyway, we are very lucky because one of my colleagues, Steven Baker, moonlights as an extra in Bollywood films. He very kindly agreed to do a little interview with me and here are his answers… read them carefully because I’m going to give you some homework based on what he says!
Amy: So how many films have been in? Which one was the most fun to work on, and why?
Steven: I have worked on 15 films so far, but plan to do many more. I would say that Salaam-e-Ishq was perhaps the most fun to work on. Probably because it was the first film that I was cast in, and I really love the song that we were shooting. Also, it was the first day of the shoot, so there was a very nice traditional Hindu ceremony before the first shot was taken, and an incredible atmosphere on the set.
Amy: Which Bollywood actors and actresses have you met?
Steven: I have been lucky enough to work alongside most of the big name stars of Indian cinema: both Amitabh and Abishek Bachchan, Salman Khan, John Abraham, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Shahid Kapur, Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and many more. I have met Shah Rukh Khan, but so far have not had the chance to act with him.
Amy: You also write about Bollywood, don't you... how do you feel about the industry in general?
Steven: I see Bollywood as an exciting and vibrant artform. Writing about Bollywood is a way of sharing my passion on Hindi film to a wider audience. My writing is published globally from the US to the UK, and from Australia to the Middle East.
Amy: What would you say the main differences between Bollywood and Hollywood are?
Steven: I guess the most striking difference is that part way through a Bollywood film, the characters will suddenly break into a song and dance routine. When you first start watching Indian cinema it may seem a little unusual. But after watching as many as I have, on the rare occasion that I see a Hollywood film, I am surprised when I get to the end of the movie and see that this has not happened.
Amy: And the similarities?
Steven: There are many similarities between Bollywood and Hollywood. A lot of it is to do with Indian cinema remaking hits from the west. In recent years, for example, Bollywood has produced remakes of films like The Usual Suspects, Love Actually, There's Something about Mary.
Amy: What do you think is the future of Bollywood?
Steven: Bollywood and India are both rapidly growing markets. Just as I feel very excited to see how successful Indian cinema is becoming globally, I also feel very privileged to be living in India at such an exciting time.
Amy: Which movie would you recommend to someone who's never seen a
Bollywood film before, and wants to get a taste of what it's like?
Steven: That's a very interesting question. Can I cheat and give you two answers? One would be the 1975 classic Sholay; the highest grossing film of all time in India. My other choice would be Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, which was released last year. I would suggest watching this film as it has all the ingredients of a Bollywood film: a great love story, wonderful songs, and a fantastic cast. It is the biggest Bollywood hit ever in the UK. Oh, and I was also in it.
So there you go! Some insider knowledge about the Bollywood film industry. Hope you found it interesting.
Okay – now here’s the tricky bit. I know it’s a bit mean of me to give you homework when I haven’t give you the answers to the last bit, but it’s our final week together so I want to make the most of it and my guests have already arrived so I really have to run!
Here’s what I’d like you to do, Adriana and all our readers… Tell me three things that Steven said in his interview. Each sentence needs to start with ‘Steven said’. Now, think about this carefully. What we are practicing is what’s called ‘reported speech’. How do the verbs change when you are reporting something someone has said? Have a think about it and write three sentences for me. We can discuss it in a couple of days.
Okay everyone – better go and get some drinks sorted out. Answers to the conditionals homework tomorrow, I promise! And the vocabulary definitions too!
To be cast in a film
To break into song
The highest grossing film
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