The 'Slumdog lesson' for Bollywood

'Slumdog Millionaire also represents a different way of doing things, in sharp contrast to Bollywood’s entrenched practices. Take casting. The film crew scoured countries and cities to search for the right faces; the boy, in fact, is a non-resident and the girl is a totally new face. The film producers and director even auditioned the young boy and girl together to see if they had the right chemistry on screen. In Bollywood, the leading man is decided mostly on a whim and a fancy, long before the screenplay is finalised. If it’s a big budget film from a well-known studio, the lead role is then usually reserved for the son of the studio promoter. In many cases, the leading man also dictates the choice of the female lead, script be damned.

In this case too, as was the case with Indian industry, the foreign studio has found Indian talent and financiers willing to risk their gifts and their finances on Danny Boyle because he comes with a past, a successful track record of having directed some very cutting edge cinema. Danny Boyle’s nationality — or his lack of Indian roots — never made any difference. What mattered was his craft. There are many Indian companies which are happy to cater to only a market niche and do not desire global markets, but are eager to run their companies on global best practices. Likewise, there will be cinema that will cater primarily to Indian audiences but will be produced by implementing global best practices. And, that’s going to make all the difference.'

- Rajrishi Singhal, 'Jai ho! It's time for Bollywood to globalise.'


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