By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Bollywood veteran Sharmila Tagore, who plays a key role in the British movie "Life Goes On" by an Indian- origin filmmaker, says she can't understand why Indian actors clamour for Hollywood. She believes the focus should be on being at par with the international film industry instead of merely being a part of it.
"We have got a very supportive Indian diaspora. As long as we get good and meaty roles abroad where we are at par with international actors, it's fine. Otherwise, what's wrong with our own industry which is doing well?" Sharmila, who is the Indian censor board chief, told IANS.
"Indian actors are getting a lot of international recognition anyway...Of course, I understand actors want to broaden their horizon, but I don't know why we get so excited about Hollywood," she added.
The 64-year-old, who has over five decades of experience in the Indian film industry, acknowledges that some Indian actors have definitely made a mark internationally.
" 'Namesake' was a fantastic film - Irrfan (Khan) did a wonderful job. Of course, Mira Nair is not 100 percent international, but take Kabir Bedi's example. His work in 'Sandokan' (Italian-German-French TV series) was a big success and he was quite a well-known name in Italy for many years.
"Even (composer) A.R. Rahman is at par with any other music director in the international space now. It is high time we answered ourselves - is our aim to work in the international arena or in our language?" she said.
Sharmila, who made it big in Bollywood with films like "Kashmir Ki Kali", "An Evening In Paris" and "Chupke Chupke", will soon be seen in filmmaker Sangeeta Dutta's "Life Goes On", which will release in Britain March 11 and in India March 25.
The London-based movie explores the relations between a grief-stricken father, played by acclaimed actor Girish Karnad, and his three daughters, after the death of their mother Manju, essayed by Sharmila.
The actress, who has played a mother on screen umpteen times in films like "Viruddh" and more recently in "Break Ke Baad", says nothing is extraordinarily different about her role in "Life Goes On".
"Manju is a mother's role - she has children and she connects very well with them. But you know, every family is different - your grief, the way you cry, my grief, the way I cry....every individual is different. So the treatment of the film and the way it has been handled, is different; the role isn't different," she said.
The movie marks the first-time pairing of Sharmila and her daughter Soha, who plays the youngest child in "Life Goes On", and Sharmila says she enjoyed every bit of it.
Sharmila, especially, loved the optimum utilisation of time and professionalism on the sets of the film.
"We managed to pack in a lot of work in very little time. Nobody was late, everything was clocked. The cast and crew used to eat something before starting work, and worked five hours at a stretch. It was unlike here, where we start at 12 p.m. and then break for lunch at 1.30 p.m. So I really liked that about working on this film."
However, she admits the work culture in Bollywood has improved by leaps and bounds.
"Indian cinema has also become pretty good. When we worked on 'Break Ke Baad', it was quite professional. If Imran (Khan) and Deepika (Padukone) were told to get ready with make-up at 5 a.m., they used to make sure they are ready by 5 a.m.
"Now nobody comes late on the sets - things are very organised. It's just that we don't have the five hours non-stop work culture yet. I found it a good thing. Other than that, the work culture is pretty much the same except...it's just that they are a little quieter and we talk a bit more. Indians are a little more talkative, isn't it!" she quipped.