On saturday night 14th May, in a Gala red carpet event at the Lumier Theatre, Cannes film festival will screen the documentary I produced along with UTV and directed by Rakeysh Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist. It all started with my conversation with Thierry Fremaux about the fascination of people with Music, Song and Dance in Bollywood. And his desire to find a film that he could show in the main section.We decided to make one. A documentary. Here is what I wrote for the Cannes brochure :
“We love it. We hate it. We see it as regressive. We see it as modern. We need it to breathe it to feel alive, and yet complain about it’s polluted air. Some say its melodramatic. Others call it Mythic. Some say it is the only culture that holds India together. Others say it is the greatest corrupting influence on Indians and would banish it from our shores. Some say it gives identity and individuality to 25 million Indians that have left her shores and who’s third generations that are still addicted to it.
It is certainly disconcerting sitting in the mansion of a young Indian entrepreneur in the Silicon valley that just sold his company for over $ 5 billion and see his third generation immigrant family weeping over the latest melodramatic Bollywood film. Or celebrate their new found wealth dancing together to it’s songs. Even more disconcerting is me filming in Morocco with Heath Ledger and having hundreds of Moroccan people arrive at my set in the middle of the desert thinking I might be shooting their favourite form of entertainment.
A love a affair between almost 2 billion people worldwide that has lasted over 70 years, and not only refuses to stop. It keeps growing. Embracing it’s most important, it’s most vilified, it’s most loved element. The song and dance. The music. No Bollywood film needs to be called a musical. It needs no such excuse. It just is one. Regardless of the genre’.
How does Bollywood reflect the changing history and moralities of the largest and youngest democracies in the world ? Film makers, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist try to analyse Bolywood and give up. Or give in. To it’s overpowering beat and sensuality. Preferring to give you an experience of Bollywood for or you to decide.
For how do you define a love affair ?