'The Bollywood musical is a genre on its own'

'The Bollywood musical is a genre on its own'

Familiar face

A useful trait, given that when he’s not directing and producing Hollywood movies (‘Welcome to the Neighbourhood’ and ‘The Time Shifters’ to name a few), he’s busy running one of the few film-making schools in India.

In the City recently to host a media workshop, he didn’t lose focus of the participants — a bunch of young film enthusiasts — for even a second. What’s more, it also gave Metrolife a chance to catch up with Inderbitzin to find out  about his stint with the Indian film industry.

While Inderbitzin always wanted to get into films, he faced a problem that any Indian is familiar with — his parents disapproved of his career choice. “They wanted me to go to business school and get an MBA, which I did. I got a job on Wall Street that offered me a lot of money. But then I fell in love with an actress and moved to Los Angeles with her. I began writing some scripts there and it all just took off,” he recollects.

His years in the industry have taught him plenty; ask him the one trait that any good director simply has to have and he says thoughtfully, “You need to be able to take charge of a group. That’s important — but not enough. A director also has to be able to tell a story and communicate through pictures and words.”

Kurt came to India in 2006, and has been interacting closely with the film fraternity here since then. Ask him whether working here is very different from working in a studio in Hollywood and he says, “Not very. It’s a chaotic sport because it’s not an exact science. The expectations of the audience aren’t too different either – a lot of American movies are hits here and Indian films like Ra.One are doing very well in the US.”

There is one key difference though — music. “Indian movies used to be big musical spectacles, which American film-makers didn’t have an appetite for. But Indian films are more sophisticated now,” he says, citing the recent Delhi Belly as an example of this progress. He’s quick to add, though, that he has nothing against the glorified song-and-dance sequences of Bollywood. “The Bollywood musical is a genre on its own. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s okay,” he explains.

He also believes that some Indian films have had a huge impact on the West — most noticeably, the Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. “It’s very easy to dehumanise poverty, but this movie made people there realise that someone who’s poor can also be ambitious and have dreams. Besides, it introduced us to the hottest woman on the planet – Freida Pinto,” he laughs.

This isn’t Kurt’s first time in the City, but he admits to not being very familiar with it. “I’ve been here probably eight times in my life. I have close friends here, which is why I like visiting Bangalore,” he says.