New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) English actor-comedian Robert Llewellyn, who feels anything about India — be it the story of Indian railways, the country’s cuisine or the larger than life canvas of Bollywood — becomes a rage in Britain, says the more the talent from different nations work together, the less likely is the prevalence of prejudices.
He believes the blurring of lines between film industries across the world comes as an advantage — especially at a time when a stream of Indian talent is seeping into the British film industry and vice versa.
Indian actors like Lillete Dubey, Gulshan Grover are making waves on the English film front, while British period TV drama series “Downton Abbey” star Hugh Bonneville is in Jodhpur to shoot for Gurinder Chadha’s film “Vicerory’s House”.
Llewellyn, who presents documentary “World’s Busiest Railway” based on Indian Railways along with Dan Snow, Anita Rani and John Sergeant on BBC World News, stressed on the “importance of constant flow of film talent around the world”.
“It’s very important that there is a constant flow of film talent around the world. The more we know about each other, the less likely we are to have prejudice as this is always built on ignorance, so I think it is a good thing,” the actor, who was born in Northampton and grew up in Oxfordshire, told IANS in an email interview from London.
Llewellyn, who is best known for his role as a presenter of “Scrapheap Challenge” and as the mechanoid Kryten in English comedy series “Red Dwarf”, may not be acquainted with the world of Bollywood, but he asserts that his lack of knowledge should not be considered to gauge the popularity of Hindi films in Britain.
“I know very little about Bollywood actors, but I also don’t know much about Hollywood actors either, so it’s just me. I know the films are becoming popular here,” he said, and added that Indian cuisine has been popular in Britain for generations.
“I’d guess the knowledge and familiarity of Bollywood films has grown more recently. Basically anything about India is always popular in Britain,” he quipped.
The story of how Llewellyn sailed into the silver screen is very filmy. He first set his foot in the shoe industry as a professional shoemaker in London. But forayed into cinema as a hobby. And he stayed on.
The documentary, which will air its final part on BBC World News on Sunday, opens the chapter of Indian locomotives, giving a dose of history along with its twist and turns of the trains in India.
But has he ever travelled on a train in India?
Llewellyn is quick to note that he has, and the ‘super dense crush load’ of Mumbai locals have not diminished his love for India or riding trains.
“I travelled in quite a few and the experience of ‘super dense crush load’ in Mumbai was fairly challenging…I also travelled on a couple of long distance trains which were great. I love riding trains,” the actor said.
Llewellyn adds that “though you’ve been told of the crowds, the busy city, the crowded trains”, nothing can prepare you for the final moment.
Apart from a dose about Indian Railways, the actor says “the kindness of Indians” has left an everlasting impression on his mind and heart.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)