- Title: USA/FILE: Bollywood and Kung Fu come together for "Chandhi Chowk to China"
- Date: 11th January 2009
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AKSHAY KUMAR, SAYING: "All he had was this poster, and he said 'that's all I have and I would like you to say yes to me so I can approach Warner Bros. and I can make a whole script of it, and I can approach them. Sometimes you just look at a poster, and you feel that this is the right kind of film I want to do, you just go by instinct, sometimes it can fall wrong also, so that's how it started, and slowly, slowly, Nikhil Advani came in and Warner Brothers came in, the script came in, and everything fell in right on time and right on place, and here we are in New York, attending the premiere."
- Reuters ID: LVAAA0923VUS4KZ0OK0G8AMRJLHR
- Duration: 00:00:42
- Story Text: India, China, and America come together for "Chandni Chowk to China," the first ever Bollywood film financed by Warner Bros. Pictures.
"Chandni Chowk to China" fuses together the music and dance of traditional Indian films, the action and adventure of Kung Fu, and the funds and public support of one of America's powerhouse movie studios.
Produced by Warner Brothers Pictures, "Chandni Chowk" is the first Bollywood film with United States roots -- perhaps a sign of things to come as the world grows smaller and more diverse.
The film stars Akshay Kumar, a staple of Indian action films, who first decided to participate when he saw the promotional poster that the producers concocted.
"All he had was this poster, and he said 'that's all I have and I would like you to say yes to me so I can approach Warner Brothers and I can make a whole script of it, and I can approach them," says Kumar.
"You just go by instinct, sometimes it can fall wrong also, so that's how it started."
"Chandni Chowk to China" tells the story of a vegetable cook from the Chandni Chowk section of New Delhi, who dreams big but falls in line with the wrong crowd and schemes his way around. After his adoptive father kicks him to China as punishment for his behavior, he is found by residents of a small village who believe he is the incarnation of an ancient Chinese king, and enlist him to save the town from an evil warlord.
Actress and model Deepika Padukone stars opposite Kumar in the film, playing twin sisters separated at birth who tantalize and confuse his character's simple mind. Padukone felt at home during the two and a half month shoot, recognizing that Chinese and Indian cultures are more similar than they are different.
"I think India and China are very similar culturally, and I think, yes, the language is different, but in a lot of ways, like you said, I think family is very important, a lot of smaller, traditional and religious things I think are also very similar, says Padukone.
"They've taken very good care of us, made us all feel like we were at home because we were shooting there for two and a half months, and it was a very physically, tiring schedule for all of us over there, and they made it a lot easier for all of us."
For Kumar, starring in a Kung fu film meant getting back into top shape and brushing up on his martial arts training. He already has a black belt and has studied Thai boxing for several years. When he arrived in China, however, he was shocked to find that even with all of his personal accomplishments, he had a lot of work to do to be able to perform his own stunts.
"I thought to do this film, I was very much suitable and I could do a great job, but until I, the day I landed in China, and started working with those Chinese dudes, I realized how slow I was, and I started, I had to practice back all over again, I started doing my basics and things like that just to keep up with the pace they were," says Kumar.
"I have come to this conclusion, that these guys are made to do Kung Fu, and I am not made to do Kung Fu at all."
Warner Bros. Pictures is taking a bet on Bollywood with "Chandni Chowk to China," and while it is likely to be a hit in India and China, it remains to be seen whether American audiences will take to the genre.
Director Nikhal Advani believes this to be the best representation of Indian cinema to introduce new audiences to.
"I hope it's everyone, I hope it's everyone, but I think that you need to give it time, I think if you are uninitiated as far as Bollywood is concerned, then this is the kind of film that you should go to watch, because it is Bollywood at it's truest and best," says Nikhal Advani.
"Chandni Chowk to China" opens worldwide on January 16, 2009, and also stars Bollywood veteran Mithun Chakraborty, Ranvir Shorey, and Chinese martial arts expert and actor Gordon Liu.
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