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  Bollywood heart-throb interview
Updated 22 January 2003, 10.33

Arjun Rampal is a Bollywood actor. He chats to Becky Jago about the Indian film industry.

How did you get into Bollywood?
It's taken me four or five years to get where I am. Acting isn't easy. You have to have talent, and I think, a lot of luck. You have to appeal to a very large section of the Indian audience.
I watched films as I was growing up. They've definitely changed. You watch an old film today and it will look outdated. Films are more modern now.

All the plots are similar though aren't they?
The cinema is the only form of entertainment that's why you have to pack everything in and that's why they're so long. But things are changing now. Indian films haven't been original enough, but that's starting to happen now. There's a big market for Indian movies abroad now. Big studios are coming to India.

Why have they become popular in the UK?
There is a large number of Indians living abroad. Somewhere down the line they've understood each other's cultures. Indian films have had the Indian culture in them taken the mickey out of. But now we're proud of our culture so we've been able to share it. Indians here also understand the culture out there.
I hope it's not just a phase. I hope it's more permanent but that needs work.


What do you look for in a script?
I like to see the clarity that the director has in his mind. I need to see myself as that character. It has to be a clear draft and hopefully have a message.
I like the singing and dancing and that's something which people out here enjoy. I was on a world tour recently and it's lovely having people singing your songs. I felt a little bit like a rock star even though I can't sing to save my life. We playback our songs.

How would you describe a Bollywood film?
Just go and enjoy it - it's colourful and entertaining. The basic storyline was about rich boy and poor girl falling in love and obstacles in the way.
I think Bollywood and Hollywood are very different. It's totally different markets. I would do a Hollywood film but it would have to be right.
Being an actor is great - reaching out to so many people and being creative. The conditions we shoot in are tough.

What's your worst experience when filming?
My first film - there was a dance sequence in Switzerland. I was wearing a tight t-shirt dancing under a waterfall in the freezing temperatures. I don't know how long I will continue acting but I hope to be in the industry for a while.
There are big changes coming. We've been shaken up by losses. Film-makers are getting their acts together and starting to work on the script.



 

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