Here’s one man who is not in love with Hindi films and its jhatkas. But Canadian Russell Peters, who is of Anglo-Indian origin and has been an international standup comedian for 23 years, says the confluence of Bollywood and Hollywood must grow.
Ontario-native Peters, who has worked in Akshay Kumar’s Indo-Canadian venture “Breakaway”, was here in India to promote “Speedy Singhs”, the Hindi version of the movie, when IANS caught up with him.
“Collaborations between India and the West are going to be fruitful. The love affair of Bollywood and Hollywood ought to grow and I think ‘Speedy Singhs’ is a good move from both the sides.
“We are in a time now where we do not have boundaries or any walls separating the two industries. Thanks to the internet, everybody can see everything. The reach has become global for every artist. It’s just a matter of time before people decide and consolidate the two. Also, there is no reason why Indians in India and Indians abroad, the NRIs, can’t do something together,” he said.
The 40-year-old, who was born in Canada to Anglo-Indian parents, feels it is advisable for NRIs to come and get a taste of modern India, which has gone through several changes over the years.
“It’s a good opportunity for Indians who are born and raised abroad to come back and get a reality check of what India is like now. And India today is not the same India that it was 10-15 years ago. It’s way miles ahead of what we think it is. I also feel people here are way more smarter than people in the West. They are way more in tune with the rest of the world,” he added.
Peters has been entertaining global audiences through his stand-up acts. He is now looking forward to receiving a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. It will be inducted Oct 1 in Toronto.
“I have earned my place and now I am getting my due recognition with being honoured by the star at Walk of Fame in Canada when I go back home. To be honoured with something like this and to be recognized, not as Indo-Canadian but as a Canadian, is a pretty big deal,” he said, flashing a big smile.
Peters, who is known for his observational comedy about communities and culture around the world, says he finds Bollywood “useless”, but admits he is in love with the country’s entertainment capital, Mumbai.
“I don’t follow, nor do I want to follow, Bollywood. I’ve no time for Bollywood. I don’t care about Bollywood at all and I don’t even want to do any film. I don’t like the Bollywood jhatkas and matkas that they call it – the singing and dancing and also the dramatic crying,” he said without hesitation.
Raise an eyebrow at that, and he retorts: “It’s my opinion! Obviously there are billions who like and love them, but I have never seen a Bollywood film in my life. I have refused doing it earlier and will do so in future.”
“But I love India. I have been here a couple of times. India is one place in the world that I see as very comfortable, and honestly Mumbai is the one city that I see I could fit in, I could live in. I love Mumbai,” he said.
Peters kickstarted his career in acting with “Show Me The Funny” in 1997 and has since starred in films like “Lord Have Mercy” and “Comedy Now” among others.
“Breakaway” is the first film where he has worked in an Indian production with an Indian star-cast, featuring Anupam Kher, Vinay Virmani, Hollywood actress Camilla Belle and Gurpreet Ghuggi.