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Interview with Tom Alter
Date: July 15, 2007, Hyderabad
Tom Alter

Tom Alter, an Indian actor of American origin is in Hyderabad to attend Chitra Yatra film festival. caught up with him for a small chit-chat to know what he feels about the Indian cinema. Here are few excerpts -

What you like about this film festival Chitra Yatra?
It is a very unusual film festival that lasts for a month. In general, film festivals are being held in multiple screens with competitive section. It is good that there is no competitive section in this festival. And there is only one cinema hall that exhibits all films. It makes things simpler with no confusion and tension. It is very nicely organized simple film festival.

Do any of your films being screened in this festival?
Only one film. Gandhi in which I played a small role.

When you watch films, do you try to connect as an actor?
No. I try to watch the film as a common movie lover. I don't want to connect myself as an actor with the roles as I would become more critical about it.

What is your opinion about the arts film that are being made in India?
Art films used to get lukewarm response earlier. But I feel that the scenerio has considerably changed in the past 7 years. If you look at the films like Lagaan, Iqbal, Parineeta, Munna Bhai, LRMB, Omkara and Rang De Basanti, all these films are of art nature. But they did extremely well at box office. The common movie lover in Hindi industry is getting tired of formula films and encouraging new-age films.

But 50% of the films are inspired by Hollywood flicks?
That is right. But all these inspired films are not been encouraged.

What about Bheja Fry?
This is a multiplex film done under the budget of 1 crore. The director cleverly used a French film as a base so that not many people are familiarized with the subject. I must admit that it is a good copy of the original.

These days lot of role shifting is happening in the film industry like person from one profession shifting to another profession?
These days most of the films are not real films, but come as a packaged product. They concentrate more on marketing and some of the films are doing good money. But I don't consider them as real movies.

What do you think is the future of Indian cinema?
I am not exposed to regional languages. But in Hindi cinema, it is going through a great transition. I see the future where good films are being made under Rs 2 crore budget with good storylines. The huge commercial directors should stop making films for NRI audiences. The directors also should not get carried away by technology. They should use simple technique to narrate a good story.

You work in TV, Cinema and theater. How do you differentiate your work?
I don't differentiate between these three medias. There won't be any fun involved once I differentiate between these medias.

What are your current projects?
I am doing three projects now.

1. Foto: It is about a young boy who wants to become a director.
2. Cycle Kick: This film is about two gangs who fight in a football game
3. Shadows: It is about Tsunami catastrophe shot in Andaman Islands.

What are your future projects?
I have handful of projects in all cinema, TV and theater.

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