New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Josh Gad grew up watching all the “Bollywood stuff” and had an “experiential kind of introduction” to the world of Indian cinema. The American star says he welcomes “all the opportunities to work with Indian stars” but rues the fact that not many offers have come knocking at his door.
American showbiz has opened its doors to Indian actors such as Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Anupam Kher or divas like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone like never before. And Gad is eager to work with them.
“I welcome all the opportunities (work with Indian actors). Unfortunately, haven’t got too many with Indian actors. But I did work with a lovely Indian actress — Poorna Jagannathan in ‘Thanks for Sharing’ — and the experience was amazing,” Gad told IANS in an email response.
Gad’s tryst with Bollywood might have started early, but the actor refrains from calling himself “an expert” on Indian cinema. He added that his parents were really into Indian cinema — his father is a Jewish immigrant to the US from Afghanistan.
“They would actually play a lot of the Bollywood stuff when I was growing up, so I had that experiential kind of introduction to it, but in terms of knowledge of Indian cinema, I can’t say I’m an expert,” Gad said.
Cinema is not the only thread pulling Gad towards Indian culture. “The Internship” star shared that he once gatecrashed an Indian wedding.
The actor, who is married to actress Ida Darvish and has two daughters, quips: “For me to see and experience an entirely different tradition was really cool thing”.
He said: “My impression is that we Americans are getting it all wrong. It was the most extraordinary celebration I had ever attended. It was so elegant, and there was such a vivacity to it all. Traditionally, the weddings in the US are much less pomp and circumstantial.”
Gad has made a name in Hollywood as an actor, comedian and singer. Some remember him as the beloved snowman Olaf in Disney’s mega-hit “Frozen”, for some he is a guy looking for friends for his wedding from “The Wedding Ringer” and for some he is 1980s videogame expert who battles aliens in “Pixels”.
And soon he will be heard as a bird named Chuck, who thinks fast, talks fast and moves even faster, in “The Angry Birds Movie”. Taking the basic structure of Rovio Entertainment’s mobile game of the same name, the movie brings the game’s action to the big screen in a witty manner.
In the game, angry but cute little birds fight it out with pigs which have stolen their eggs. And the film, which will hit the screens in India on May 27 in English, Hindi and Tamil, takes the audience back in time, tracing the origin of the battle between the birds and pigs.
The film is supported by Jason Sudeikis as Red, Danny McBride as the volatile Bomb, Bill Hader as a pig, Maya Rudolph as Matilda, and Peter Dinklage as the Mighty Eagle. It will be distributed by Sony Pictures.
The actor shares that playing the role of ‘speed demon’ Chuck was “very tiring and draining” as it turned out to be “a mental and vocal workout” for him.
Before signing, Gad had his share of doubts as he confessed: “When I first got the call about an Angry Bird’s movie, I was really skeptical. I was like ‘Why do we need an adaptation of a mobile video game?’ And the producer put together this brilliant 20-minute reel where he kind of painted this picture of this movie that didn’t really acquire knowledge of the video game.”
He says the cast of “The Angry Birds Movie” would be willing to be part of a second instalment “if you find an opportunity to continue the story”, adding that sequels are tricky.
The film might be all about anger and ways to channel the emotion, but Gad feels “the movie has a universal message that everybody can relate with. We have all been in places where we’ve had the opportunity to feed into that anger and kind of get a negative result out of it or use that anger to pivot it towards trying to change something for better”.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at email@example.com)