Despite the impressive amount of great movies that come out Hollywood and Bollywood, there’s a remarkable lack of integration between the two massive film hotspots.
Much of this can be put down to the old-fashioned attitudes endemic in Hollywood. And whilst Indian-born actors like Kal Penn quite rightly state that this situation is still a big problem, there are a few Indian actors who have successfully managed to break through.
Take Priyanka Chopra who used star performances in Bollywood hits like Andaaz as a springboard to land a top role in the American thriller series Quantico. And whilst the recent Baywatch movie was quite rightly panned, her performance as the villain, Victoria Leeds, was a highlight in an otherwise disappointing Hollywood flick.
Deepika Padukone is another glamorous Bollywood leading lady who has made a big impression in the USA. Whilst we all got to know her through the 2012 hit Cocktail, the first time that most American audiences will have come across Padukone will have been when she appeared opposite Vin Diesel in the action blockbuster, xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
But it’s not just Bollywood’s actresses who are hitting it big in Hollywood. Irrfan Khan has become of the biggest global movie stars by appearing in massive US movie hits like The Amazing Spider-Man, Jurassic World, and Inferno.
And then consider youngsters like Karan Soni who managed to land a very lucrative role in Marvel’s Deadpool movie. It remains to be seen whether he will return alongside stars like Josh Brolin who Lucky Nugget Casino mention will be in the sequel to Deadpool, but it’s clear that Soni’s Hollywood star is definitely in the ascendancy.
We can’t miss out some of the Hollywood movies that actually made Indian culture a central part of their action. Films like Slumdog Millionaire managed to bring Indian actors like Anil Kapoor and Freida Pinto to Western audiences, and who could forget Suraj Sharma’s incredible performance in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi.
It’s thanks to trailblazers like the much-missed Om Puri that there is a much better relationship between Hollywood and Indian actors. Puri became instantly recognisable in the UK thanks to his role in the comedy East is East, and with many appearances alongside Hollywood icons like Jack Nicholson and Tom Hanks, he has definitely helped the portrayal of Indians in western cinema.
So whilst there is still some way to go before Hollywood changes some of its more old-fashioned values, it’s good to see that there are plenty of great Indian actors breaking through the system.