Nimrat Kaur: Everyone wants to give the West a shot, but they’ll do it only if they know they can swing it
| March 17, 2018, 5:37 p.m.
For people in India, it’s tough to gauge what really happens in the West.
There’s limited access that one has to the industry there.
Except for actors like Priyanka Chopra, Irrfan and Nimrat Kaur that have lately been exceptionally active in the West, few would know what the current perception of Bollywood is for them.
Bring this up and Nimrat says, “Bollywood is colours and vibrant songs for them. They think we are a big, Broadway show and I don’t blame them for it because that is a picture we have proudly put out for the world. Music and dance is a part of our film culture, and we celebrate it.
I’m proud of it, too. Indian films have their roots in the nautanki format which I learnt while doing theatre. Lip synced songs aren’t as common in world cinema as they are in India. At the same time, Hollywood has woken up to the fact that South Asians are a big part of the movie-watching world and the talent-pool of their artists is growing faster than ever.
That is the reason Priyanka Chopra and Irrfan are embraced by the West and are cast in extremely believable characters that don’t necessarily play on their nationality. They have recognized that we are the largest industry, loaded with competent actors. How many of our actors really fit in at Hollywood is a different story.”
But are Bollywood actors motivated enough to give the West a chance? Are Indian actors really open to the idea of screen-testing for a role because that’s isn't the case back home? Its more informal and more on a referral basis. Its more hearsay and the inner circle of Bollywood's accomplished determine the cast.
Nimrat says, “You’ll seldom get to know of people here screen-testing for a role there because they’re all fearful of being judged. Some of them actually see auditions as an act of reducing their stock value in the domestic market. They perceive it as a process meant only for amateurs. With auditioning, they feel they’re relegating their status. We’re not cast in films on the basis of our capability alone. I’m not saying auditions don’t happen here, but casting is more of a decision based on likes, looks, pairing and the math of the business. Given a chance everyone would like to diversify. I wouldn’t take names but a lot of our actors do audition for roles in the West. Everyone wants to give it a shot, but they’ll do it only if they know they can swing it and won’t end up making an ass of themselves.”