“What do you say when four of your closest friends want to make a documentary about you? Well I said no, but these guys just wouldn’t listen,” Omi Vaidya.
This is not the first time East meets West in Telluride. Over the years, the Telluride Film Festival has put out the welcome mat to films and filmmakers from Bollywood.
Shyam Benegal and Om Puri were saluted as tributees and given silver medallions for their contributions to the world of the cinema. In 2001, Salman Rushdie was guest programmer at the festival. And the Telluride Film Festival has shown films ranging from “The Namesake,” “Firaaq,” and “The Mystic Masseur,” also classics. In 2008, “Slumdog Millionaire” by director Danny Boyle became an instant sensation. Following its opening in Telluride, the story about a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums to win big on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” wins Big, bagging an Oscar for Best Picture.
Another film that could go big – loading the dice with its choice of title – is “Big in Bollywood,” a Mountainfilm in Telluride pick for the 34th annual gathering of the tribe.
And like “Slumdog,” “Big In Bollywood” is a rags to riches story of a young man, in this case, a Hollywood zero who becomes Bollywood hero. Omi Vaidya, an American actor, becomes an Indian film megastar overnight.
Omi, a struggling actor in L.A., miraculously lands a dream role in the Bollywood film “3 Idiots.” Curious to better understand the world of Bollywood, four of Omi’s buddies, armed only with cameras, fly to Mumbai with him to document The Big Premiere. Within a week of its release, “3 Idiots” skyrockets to box office success to become the most successful Indian film in history, transforming Omi into an overnight megastar. That’s the good news. The bad news? Turns out as the world turns being a national sensation in India is not all glitz and glamor.
Aside from the language barrier, Omi struggles with the pressure of his newly acquired fame and continuing his career momentum while trying to maintain a healthy domestic life back in Los Angeles. Set against the backdrop of Mumbai, “Big in Bollywood” is a film about what it is to be successful in show business, seen through the eyes of Omi’s best friends, who witness his career transformation firsthand.
“Big in Bollywood” is brought to us by Windy Hill Productions, the aforementioned four friends, who call themselves “The Dream Team”:
“Dream team simply means we often quit our jobs, travel the world, and make the films we want to make. We grew up together in the San Francisco Bay Area, where each of us pursued filmmaking from an early age. Though we went off to different universities, we discovered in our 20s that we had been pursuing similar paths in the world of film. Between us, we’ve traveled to over 50 countries, made hundreds of short films, and worked as directors, editors, and hosts for a wide variety of productions. Big in Bollywood is the first project that culminates all of our skills together and we look forward to a lifetime of future film-making.”
The Dream team is “Big in Bollywood’s” star, Omi, director, head editor Kenny Meehan, director/head camera Bill Bowles, and producer/host Tyler MacNiven, producer/2nd unit camera/editor Matt McCroskey.
“Making this film gave us the unique opportunity to get to know the city of Mumbai from a local’s perspective. Instead of staying at a hostel or a hotel, we rented our own apartment for seven weeks. We got to know our neighbors, bought fruit from the local sellers, and frequented neighborhood cafes. We ran along the waterfront in the evenings, hosted friends in our spare rooms, and even got into quarrels with the neighborhood association. It was a great way to get to know a foreign city, and we were all a bit sad to shut our front door for that last time on our way out of town.”
To preview the fun, click the “play” button: