'Bollywood will be the next big thing'
Bollywood will lead world cinema in the future, adding innovation and magic to path-breaking Asian cinema, says legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle.
By Hindol Sengupta, IANS
"The most resonant tales will come from India," Doyle told IANS in an interview. "It will add tremendously to the magic of Asian cinema and take forward standards set by Hong Kong and China."
Doyle, better known by his acquired Chinese name Du Kefeng, is the oft-toasted cinematographer of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai.
It is this Sydney-born habitual nomad's vision that gives Kar-Wai films the sort of dreamy, surreal and musical feel that has been studied and marvelled across the world.
The man once worked on an irrigation project in Bihar, calls himself an Asian and believes the way forward for Bollywood is new collaborations with other Asian genres.
"All over Asia the economy is going a similar way, people want to tell tales that have a lot of shared experience. There is a common sense of Asian-ness in South Korea, Thailand, India - everywhere.
"Soon we will see a Japanese actor in a Thai film, a Korean actor in a Chinese film. All sorts of things will happen and Bollywood, with its vibrant cinematic tradition, will lead.
"It's a shared cultural identity that is waiting to explode."
Doyle has been a sailor, a sea-merchant in Norway, a cow-herder in Israel, a doctor of Chinese medicine in Thailand and, of course, a well-digger in India.
"I'm basically an Asian, I feel Asian," smiled Doyle, who speaks fluent Mandarin. "It's just that my skin has a problem, not the right colour, it has a bit of a disease," he laughed.
Here is a man who didn't go to any film school and started cinema almost in his middle age. "The trick of my work is not to take myself too seriously. Film school only helps in getting a great sex life.
"Well, I guess a good sex life is the first step to making great cinema," he guffawed.
His work with Kar-Wai in films like "Days Of Being Wild", "Chungking Express" and "In The Mood For Love" has been one of the most influential in modern cinema, as an ethereal camera matched the moodiness and melancholy of the Hong Kong genius.
"Both me and Wong love reading, literature and music. So we are able to bring that love for literature in our work, that inherent sense of musicality.
"It's like jazz. We begin together and hopefully end together - in between we just jam along."
The most important lesson for Doyle is something he said Kar-Wai keeps saying.
"He says, 'Chris, is that the best that you can do?' That's the question that keeps me going."