India and Hollywood

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  April 18, 2007 — 1 Comment

According to some recent press it seems that India is the next big thing for Hollywood, with several American production companies and directors making films about or in the subcontinent.

“While the Walt Disney Company is all set to shoot a historical in India by the year-end, Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, of the Oscar-winning No Man’s Land, has planned a visit later this year for his next film that will supposedly include Indian actors. Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, starring Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, was filmed across colourful Rajasthan three months ago.”

Also planned is a film starring Johnny Depp. The planned epic from Disney seems particularly ambitious since it aims to portray the entire history of the nation.

“Though representatives of Disney’s mega-budget film are not ready to make a formal announcement, the film, which will present a panoramic journey of India from the Aryans to Independence, will be shot at Nitin Desai’s picturesque Karjat studio.”

It should be interesting to see how much religion ends up in these films. Much of the Indian-influenced entertainment that is seen by Americans glosses over Hinduism (or makes jokes concerning it), often sticking to the much more relate-able issues of class and familial struggles. But I can’t imagine how Disney could make such a film without dealing with religion, a central part of life in India. Though it is important to note that the film will end with independence (most likely featuring a lot of Gandhi), and won’t try to tackle the thornier political, social, and religious issues that have developed since then.

In any case, it should be interesting to see how this rash of films will be greeted in America. Will Disney encounter any flack from the Christian right over making an “un-Christian” film, and could this trend spark a new interest in all things Indian?

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Anonymous

    The fellow who starred in HBO’s Entourage was in a two-hour Travel Channel special on his journey thru India. Even though hours more could have been devoted to India, there were some wonderful glimpses into the impact of gods and goddesses on daily Indian life.