Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan will make his Hollywood debut in Baz Luhrmann’s epic ‘The Great Gatsby’ but the notable casting is also symbolic.
Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry churns out far more films than Hollywood each year but we have yet to see many commercial collaborations between the two industries. China and the US although diplomatically tense, have cooperated on a big scale and brought many eastern stories to western audiences. Films such as ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Rush Hour’ have been widely felt in American culture and most recently ‘The Karate Kid’ remake. Almost all action films now incorporate some element of martial arts and spectacle because audiences now demand it.
Amitabh Bachchan is a legend in his own country, but in the west, and particularly America, he doesn’t command an audience, yet. However, starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio could prove to charm US audiences towards Indian actors and culture down the line even though this film is not based on an Indian storyline.
Historically Britain and India are the closest in terms of cross-culture and their respective motion picture industries. Many Bollywood productions have been successful in the UK but not elsewhere in the US. However the recent critically acclaimed ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ charmed audiences in both countries.
‘The Great Gasby” will be set in the 1920s, about high society in the Golden age before the Great Depression. Bachchan will play the role of Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish gambler.