Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan will appear in his first Hollywood film alongside Titanic hero Leonardo DiCaprio in a new adaptation of classic novel The Great Gatsby.
The 68-year-old Indian star joins DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan in Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s version of the 1925 novel by F Scott Fitzgerald. Big B, who has a fanatical following all over the world, has starred in over 150 Bollywood films in a 40-year period. In 2008, he released his first English-language film, The Last Lear.
Warner Brothers said in a statement that shooting for The Great Gatsby started this week and Bachchan will play Meyer Wolfsheim, a Jewish man described as a gambler who helps the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby make his money.
Meanwhile, Maguire, star of the Spider-Man franchise, plays Nick Carraway, the would-be writer and narrator of the novel, who comes to New York from the Midwest in 1922 to make his fortune. DiCaprio, on the other hand, plays the lead role of Jay Gatsby, while Britain’s Mulligan plays his lover, Carraway’s cousin, Daisy Buchanan.
Luhrmann, who has spoken about his love for Bollywood movies in the past, and used a popular Bollywood song “Chamma Chamma” in his 2001 musical Moulin Rouge, said he was “personally thrilled that one of the world’s greatest screen legends, Amitabh Bachchan, is joining the cast”. “Over the years, Bachchan’s films have made a tremendous impression on my life and work. His film Sholay was my introduction to Indian cinema,” Luhrmann told IANS.
The film is being made on a $150 million budget and due for release next year, according to imdb.com. The Great Gatsby has been adapted for cinema four times previously, including in 1974 with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INFO FROM IANS)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2011.