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Was jealous of Indian directors when I first discovered Indian films: Chuck Russell

Friday, March 29, 2019

“The Mask" director Chuck Russell always wanted to be a part of Hindi films as he loves the way Bollywood movies incorporate song-and-dance routines.

Russell, who has finally directed a Hindi film with "Junglee", said both the industries are good at telling larger-than-life stories.    

"I was jealous of Indian directors when I first discovered Indian films. As a teenager, I found you guys do song and dance in every or any genre. In the West, the musicals were very limited. There are many differences but we (both) can tell larger-than-life stories and our stars can carry it," Russell told PTI in an interview.

The 60-year-old director is not completely alien to the new Bollywood, having watched "3 Idiots", "Sultan", "Baahubali", "Raazi" and "Bareilly Ki Barfi".  

"When I see the world, I want to try to incorporate stories from different cultures. Also, I had realised that if everyone can enjoy a film like 'The Mask', we are similar in a way when it comes to consuming entertainment," he said.

"My mother loved India very much, she passed away just as we started work on the 'Junglee'. She was a travel agent. I am carrying on the tradition of my family," Russell added.

Another reason for the director to board the project, led by Vidyut Jammwal, was the Indian setting, which best suited the family entertainer.

"(I felt) It should not be told with western actors. This is about the relationship between a man and an elephant and it is in the Indian DNA for centuries. I was comfortable with it being an Indian story.

"At first, I did not know why they approached me for this film but I realised it was because I am always dealing with the human and animal relationship angle in my films."

Whether it was "The Mask" with Jim Carrey or "The Scorpion King", starring Dwayne Johnson in his acting debut, Russell said he always develops stories around his actors.

"I develop scripts for the actors rather than starting with the screenplay and then look for somebody. I wanted to meet Vidyut, his memes and GIFs are very popular but I did not know about his films.

"I created this character for him. He has a fun, vulnerable side to him that was good to explore. These men and women are brave who do action-acting."
The film releases today.

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