The ability to match dance steps to the tunes of music in between cut and action moments in reel life is an art, which Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhaal feels Bollywood has mastered, making him a big fan of all things desi.
We talk to him about his love for India and more. Excerpts:
Do you know anything about the Indian culture?
Ohh, yes, I know a lot about Indian culture, food and films. In fact, Indian culture is so beautiful, even the Indian literature. I happen to be reading an amazing book right now. I mean there are so many things about India which are incredible.
Does Indian culture inspire you as an actor or a person in some way?
I am inspired by Indian culture, particularly Indian movies. The films in Bollywood are so inspiring to me… The creativity in them, so much of the acting in them. I think the skill that so many Bollywood actors have is just unsurpassed.
What is it about Bollywood which excites you the most?
To be able to sing, dance and act at the same time is a real requirement, which we don’t really have much in Hollywood. I have so much admiration for the filmmaking and the acting coming out of India.
But what about the food?
I haven’t started (talking) about the food, which is probably number one for me. Also, I mean the colours, fashion is incredible in the country.
First thing first, are you a foodie then?
I keep bringing up food in my conversations because it is of utmost importance to me. I love it. I love food be it from India or Los Angeles.
So, have you ever been to India?
I was just there a few years ago, right before the pandemic. I feel blessed to have been able to go and be there even for a short time. You have found a huge fan of India in me.
Talking about your work, you have brought different shades of complicated men on screen. Do you think you get attracted to pick roles of bad guys?
Well, that isn’t necessarily true. For instance, my character in Ambulance is a complicated person because he has been raised a certain way, due to which he plans to rob a bank. But his intention is to help his brother, which comes from a good place.
You have shot several films in confined space. What are the challenges and the discomforts of working in a confined space?
In the case of a project like Guilty, the situation was very advantageous, because sometimes those constrictions and constraints make way for incredible creativity. It calls upon you to bring out your tools and experience. But when a movie like Ambulance is shot in small space showed us real space of an ambulance, which became really difficult to act and move around in and shoot a movie in over a number of months.
What impression did it leave behind?
Shooting the film made me realise that people save people’s lives in these vehicles. It made me have so much admiration for first responders that I never would have known. I have seen ambulances pass by me many times…It made me have so much admiration for the people who actually do the real work in there.
So, do you now call them real heroes?
Yes, they drive through to keep someone alive. It’s just mind blowing. So acting in it didn’t compare to what they do. We get our share of scrapes and bruises from the hard edges, but they are the real heroes.