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Bollywood's empty promises

Speculation about Hollywood stars visiting India or collaborating with Indian filmmakers continues to be a mere name-dropping exercise

As far as global outreach and economies of scale are concerned, one can’t really draw comparisons between Hollywood and Bollywood: the former is way ahead on both fronts. Understandably then, the fascination with international stars persists not only among the general public, but also among B-Town’s star residents. For instance, the latest buzz doing the rounds is that Oscar-winning star Jennifer Lawrence might be cast opposite Sushant Singh Rajput in Shekhar Kapur’s much-delayed Paani. These nuggets hog the headlines but more often that not, the much-hyped international collaborations don’t materialise. To add to it, rumours about a Hollywood star’s impending visit to India have also become par for the course. HitList points out a few instances where the industry has gained mileage by throwing Hollywood names at the Indian media.

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio
India connect: The Hollywood star was supposed to land in Mumbai during the first week of January to promote his film, The Wolf of Wall Street. After giving us the slip back in 2010 -- when he only visited Nepal as part of the Save the Tiger campaign -- this time, he was expected to make a brief visit and garner publicity for his latest movie. From the looks of it though, we have to continue waiting.

The King Khan collaboration

Shah Rukh Khan, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio

Over the past three years, much has written about Leo and SRK starring together in a movie titled Xtreme City. To be penned and directed by Paul Schrader and produced by Martin Scorsese, the project never took off.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman
India connect: Saif Ali Khan learned two years ago that a joke can have its share of repercussions. The actor apparently went on record saying he was acting in a film opposite Natalie Portman.

Saif Ali Khan
Saif Ali Khan

Turns out the Oscar-winner didn’t see the humour in it as she sent a legal notice through her publicist, demanding clarity on the statement. In the end, the matter was ‘resolved’ with the Nawab of Pataudi apologising for having made a joke about it.

Al Pacino
Al Pacino
India connect: When Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbaai Dobaara’s promos released, the film’s PR machinery went into an overdrive. One of their press releases claimed an endorsement from none other than Al Pacino.

'Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobaara'
A still from 'Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai Dobaara'

According to the statement, the trailers reminded the legendary actor of The Godfather. Implausible it may sound, but let’s give him the benefit of doubt here. After all, he only watched the promos and not the entire movie. Lucky him!

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp
India connect: This maverick Hollywood actor has been eager to explore his Native Indian ancestry through films. Similarly, reams of paper have been devoted to his involvement in the screen adaptation of Gregory David Roberts’ Mumbai-based novel, Shantaram. As of now, director Mira Nair is out of the project while Joel Edgerton has replaced Depp as the leading actor in this film.

Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett
India connect: It’s not often that one sees a film that marries Hollywood and Bollywood the way Singularity has. With Hollywood’s Josh Hartnett and our very own Bipasha Basu cast opposite each other, Roland Joffé’s project showed a lot of promise. But due to some unavoidable circumstances, the project hasn’t got a commercial release yet.

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt
India connect: Reports of Brad Pitt and Aishwarya Rai pairing up for a Hollywood project based on Buddha’s life first surfaced almost a decade ago.

Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai

The film was supposed to be directed by Shekhar Kapur and even though there was no further developments, the buzz surrounding this movie never really died down. Perhaps the very idea of bringing together two beautiful actors was too enticing. Of course, the project hasn’t taken off yet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
India connect: The Terminator star’s name cropped up during the promotions of a bilingual film called Fateh-The Victory. Given producer Varinder Singh Ghuman’s bodybuilding background and his subsequent proximity with the former Mr Universe, there were talks about Arnie making his India debut with a Punjabi film. The ‘talks’, however, remained just that.

Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts
India connect: Accompanying her husband Liev Schreiber, who was shooting in India for Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Naomi Watts spent a considerable part of the summer of 2011 in the country. But when news broke out that the actress was keen on visiting the tsunami-affected shores in south India -- as part of the promotions for her tsunami-themed film, The Impossible -- it took the media by storm. When Watts didn’t turn up, it died a natural death.

Awestruck by Hollywood?

Ranbir Kapoor was recently photographed kissing Robert De Niro’s knee

Ranbir Kapoor was recently photographed kissing Robert De Niro’s knee during their interaction. While we can understand Ranbir’s sentiment, it did create a memorable yet awkward moment.

Mallika with Antonio Banderas
Mallika with Antonio Banderas

Mallika Sherawat is perhaps known more for posing with the who’s who of Hollywood than for her body of work.

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