By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: In an atmosphere of heightened insecurity and tighthened security the incomparable Steven Spielberg touched down on Mumbai’s international airport with his wife Kate Capshaw at 5 am on Monday morning.
Spielberg and his wife Kate were received at the airport by Anil and Tina Ambani.
The time of the super-celebrity’s arrival as too most of the other details regarding their arrival and 2-day stay in Mumbai was kept strictly secret.
Says a source close to the Indian team supervising Spielberg’s visit, `Mr Spielberg’s security arrangements were made a week in advance. His entourage which included specially trained bouncers arrived to check out the hotel and other venues where Mr Spielberg and his wife are scheduled to touch down. `
Apparently Spielberg is regarded as a high-risk target because of his American capitalistic tycoon’s image.
Says the source, `Only Mr and Mrs Ambani and some top executives from Reliance were allowed to receive Mr and Mrs Spielberg. From the airport they were quickly whisked away to their hotel. `
Amitabh Bachchan flies out of Bhopal where he’s shooting for Prakash Jha’s Satyagrah to moderate a question-and-answer session between Spielberg and prominent filmmakers of the country.
We hear the more articulate Bollywood filmmakers would occupy the front rows at the question and answer session.
Says the source from Reliance, `We can’t afford to take a risk. This is America’s most influential and successful filmmaker’s first visit to Bollywood. He is here to understand the workings of the Indian film industry. We want our cinema to be articulately represented. `
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s meeting with acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg, whom he calls an “institution”, was one full of talks on the state of Indian cinema and the future of cinema at large.
“An evening with an institution… an evening spent in conversation in the presence of select fraternity and press… an evening of sharing cinema with the prolific maker, inventor, story teller, innovator and one who continues to surprise us with his genius,” the 70-year-old posted on his blog srbachchan.tumblr.com, after meeting Spielberg here Monday evening.
Amitabh is particularly in awe of Spielberg’s “E.T. Extra Terrestrial”, which he feels was “endearing”.
Spielberg, who is in India to celebrate the success of his Oscar-winning film “Lincoln”, Monday interacted with as many as 61 personalities from Indian cinema and shared tips on filmmaking.
“Lincoln” is a co-production between Spielberg’s DreamWorks and Indian business tycoon Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment.
Expressing his views on the new trend where Hollywoood studios are collaborating with Indian production houses, Big B wrote: “The interest in the US and in particular Hollywood in holding hands with entertainment companies in India, because you felt that the world was ‘diminishing in size’ due to the ease of communication, and that the idea really was to bring communities closer, build bridges of understanding and sharing, because impressions, thoughts were now instant, thanks to the internet and its various social networking programmes.
“My own argument on the subject though was somewhat different; that ever since the opening up of the economy in India, the sheer volume of the demographics of the region, 1.2 billion, or every 6.3rd person in the universe being an Indian, was too attractive a consumer base to ignore!
“…So the argument being that when a country did well economically, its politics, finance, food, music, clothing … and film, became suddenly, very attractive too, which was why the mention of India, Indian references, presence of Indian actors, albeit in minuscule roles, gained relevance in Hollywood and in American TV.”
Among the Indian filmmakers present at the event were Rajkumar Hirani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Anurag Kashyap, Ramesh Sippy, Shyam Benegal, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sudhir Mishra, Nagesh Kukunoor, Madhur Bhandarkar, Zoya Akhtar, Kiran Rao, Reema Kagti, Rajshree Ojha, Gauri Shinde, Homi Adajania, Abbas-Mustan, Rohan Sippy, Prabhudheva, R. Balki and Kunal Kohli.