Indian cinema should rival Hollywood as its eastern equivalent: Saif Ali Khan (Interview)

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Indian cinema, which is celebrating its centenary year, has a unique identity and should rival Hollywood as its eastern equivalent, says actor-producer Saif Ali Khan who does not believe in any attempts to cross over.

“I think we should not try to cross over,” Saif told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“Our eastern identity is fundamentally different from theirs. We should look at taking our movies from India to the Middle East, or to places like Egypt and Spain as the audience there is suited to our movies, I believe. And we should rival Hollywood as an eastern equivalent, if ‘western’ is what they call themselves,” he added.

With over two decades in films and with veteran actress Sharmila Tagore as his mother, Saif does have a fair idea of how and what kind of cinema clicks. And he also enjoys watching a lot of international cinema.

The 42-year-old actor, who completed his studies in England, believes Iran and Iraq make some “great cinema”.

“But I’m not too sure if they have the kind of budgets we have. We just need to pay more thought and attention to detail in what we do and build on our individual identity. We’re doing pretty well, and getting there slowly,” Saif said.

He admits the Indian viewer isn’t too easy to please.

“We don’t really have a like-minded audience here. It’s difficult… and despite being so populous, we have very few writers and directors. But I see a lot of young people getting into it, and I hope it (the change) will happen. It has to happen! We will get there, I am sure,” he said.

Indian cinema is in a transition phase – backed by experimental genres, scripts and screenplays formulated by fresh filmmakers and writers – but Saif makes no bones about the fact that “action and romance” are two of the most favoured forms of filmed entertainment.

Life is also about “niche pursuits”, he said, pointing out to his latest production “Go Goa Gone”, a ‘zomcom’ or zombie comedy, a genre less heard of in Indian cinema. Saif, who plays a zombie killer in the movie, guarantees it is a “more mainstream film than you’ll imagine”.

Let’s wait and watch May 10!

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])

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