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Producer of Titanic and Avatar, Jon Landau, speaks on why western filmmakers are flocking to India

Published on : March 26, 2012
Producer of Titanic and Avatar, Jon Landau, speaks on why western filmmakers are flocking to India

Bharti Dubey Mar 26, 2012, 12.00AM IST

Jon Landau is one of Hollywood's most well-known film producers who has made cinema like Titanic and Avatar. Visiting India, Landau spoke with Bharti Dubey about what ins-pires him to make 'escapist' movies, why Hollywood fears the love story, how big budgets don't scare him - and why western filmmakers are flocking to India:


You are associated with rather diverse themes, one of your known films exploring the past, another looking at the future. What draws you to such stories?


Why do people turn to entertainment today? They go for escapism. They want to forget about the world they live in, they don't want to know about the bills lying on their desk. Such stories allow people to escape from daily reality. They take them into a cinema-going experience that is unique.


But your films, and especially those directed by James Cameron, become hugely expensive - don't you look at economics when you plan movies?


What you have to look at is if the project fuels passion inside you. If we don't feel passionate about a film, we should not do it. We don't spend money just to speak about it. We think about what it would take to do a story the right way. In my movies, we don't pay big dollars to actors just because they're Leonardo and Kate - we spend money on things the audiences would see. I live in Hollywood but work outside the traditional Hollywood system. I find movies that aren't obvious, that are able to break continental barriers and relate to people across the world.


One genre people around the world relate to is the love story - why is this vanishing from Hollywood today?


Most of the greatest love stories have a touch of tragedy to them. I think studios are hesitant to make films that are in any way sad or tragic. Hence, great love stories like Casablanca or Gone With The Wind are rare today. I perso-nally would love to make such stories.


What major trends do you see growing in Hollywood now - more special effects (VFX), indie films or international stars?


I think more than any one particular trend, studios should make movies that engage audiences on a global scale. It's not only about VFX or 3D. Films should captivate people all over the world.


You're visiting India - what interests you about Bollywood?


It's at a very exciting stage today. Technology is putting filmmaking tools into the hands of very diverse people now. I am exploring ways to do projects here. There is so much potential for us in India. From the kind of growth one has seen in the last five years, the signs are very encouraging. Although growth is still small in terms of the population, once economic resources do get strengthened and spending goes up, i see great potential here.


Currently, we are seeing more and more foreigners shooting their movies in India - is India finally becoming part of Hollywood's narrative?


I think it is the location right now. Filmmakers are creating stories that call for locations India can give them opportunities to shoot at. But what foreign filmmakers discuss about the Indian film industry is only in terms of film distribution and an emerging market - nobody is talking about stories coming out of India. There's still a long way to go in those terms. click here


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