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Bollywood can be a career option: Jean-Claude Van Damme

New Delhi, September 12, 2013, (PTI)
Jean-Claude Van Damme. Wikipedia Image.

For Jean-Claude Van Damme working in a Bollywood venture seems like a good career move but the Hollywood action star jokes that he is too expensive for Indian movies.

The 52-year-old "Universal Soldier" star is on his maiden visit to India. But his connect with the country dates back to the early '90s with his friendship with Hollywood producer Ashok Amritraj and recent appearances at two Indian award ceremonies.

"Indian cinema is big for me as a career move. It would be good for me for exposure. I could be one actor in a film around a full cast of Indian actors. I feel it would be good for my career here, in terms of being known," Van Damme told PTI in an interview here.


"In Macau, this year at IIFA, I was in talks with some people. But the price is too high, I think," he joked.

Van Damme, who is in the capital to attend the CII Big Picture Summit, said he is intrigued by the idea of making a global film of sorts with actors from all around the world including India.

"We can make a global film with actors from Europe, India, China and myself in it and of course with a good script. I think it can be unusual and be a one of a kind international film," he said.

The former martial-arts champion, known for films like "Kickboxer", "Universal Soldier", "Hard Target", "Street Fighter" and "Sudden Death", says while he enjoys watching Indian action comedies, it is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 2002 magnum opus "Devdas" that impressed him a lot.

"Some of the movies I have watched have been very well directed. Especially the action comedies. I remember this one particular film, a fun action movie where a guy is fighting on the bus. But I was very impressed with 'Devdas'- be it the choreography, the set up, the emotions.

"The last scene where Shah Rukh (Khan) is dying and the leaves falling on him, I thought it was very well made," said Van Damme.

The Belgian born star will launch Amritraj's autobiography at the two-day event here. Amritraj produced Van Damme's "Double Impact", which catapulted him to an A-list box office star. The film was a breakthrough for Amritraj as well and he went on to become a major force in Hollywood.

"Me and Ashok were friends much before 'Double Impact'. I was a struggling actor and he was a producer. Then we became good friends and as a result of that 'Double Impact' happened. The film helped our friendship further," Van Damme said.

Van Damme projected a softer image in his films unlike the invincible Arnold Schwarzenegger or a raw Sylvester Stallone. The actor says he did not much care for rules while selecting projects.

"I did not go by any rules that I have to do this film or that film. But I always felt that even if I do a small film and do it well as an actor, even if the film does not do so well, sooner or later directors would take note of it.

"I think if you have a very good story it will always connect with the audience. If you give a good story, great physical action, then people would be satisfied with what they see," Van Damme said.

The action star has appeared on the big screen with his son Kristopher Van Varenberg in several previous films when the latter was a child actor. In recent years the two have starred together in comedy "Welcome to the Jungle", action movie "Universal Soldier: A New Dimension" and thriller "Enemies Closer".

Van Damme says he is happy to help his son navigate Hollywood, something that he lacked when he started out.

"He is working very hard on his own, he is doing small projects. But it is good to have family on the set. He is doing medium budget films, he is not bad in acting, so why not him. In India a lot of actors are supporting their daughters and sons in the business and they are doing well," Van Damme said.

"It is hard for all kids. The competition is so tough. It is good to be a son of someone but it can also hurt you because people may say that you made it to Hollywood as you have connections. I am sure Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen had to deal with it," he said.

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