The ability to match dance moves to music melodies between cut and action moments in the life of the reel is an art, which Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhaal believes Bollywood has mastered, making it a big fan of all things desi.
We tell him about his love for India and more. Excerpts:
Do you know Indian culture?
Ohh, yes, I know a lot about Indian culture, food and movies. In fact, Indian culture is so beautiful, even Indian literature. I happen to be reading an amazing book right now. I mean there are so many things about India that are amazing.
Does Indian culture inspire you as an actor or as a person in any way?
I am inspired by Indian culture, especially Indian films. Bollywood movies inspire me so much… The creativity in them, a lot of the acting in them. I think the talent of so many actors in Bollywood is just unmatched.
What excites you most about Bollywood?
Being able to sing, dance and act at the same time is a real requirement, which we don’t really have a lot in Hollywood. I have so much admiration for cinema and acting that comes from India.
But what about food?
I haven’t started (talking about) food, which is probably number one for me. Also, I mean the colors, the fashion is amazing in the country.
First of all, are you a foodie?
I keep bringing food up in my conversations because it’s of utmost importance to me. I love it. I love food, whether it’s from India or LA.
So, have you ever been to India?
I was there a few years ago, just before the pandemic. I feel blessed to have been able to go there and to be there even for a short time. You found in me a big fan of India.
Speaking of your work, you’ve brought different shades of complicated men to the screen. Do you think you’re drawn to taking on villainous roles?
Well, that’s not necessarily true. For example, my character in Ambulance is a complicated person because he was brought up a certain way, because of which he plans to rob a bank. But her intention is to help her brother, who comes from a good place.
You have shot several films in confined spaces. What are the challenges and discomforts of working in a confined space?
In the case of a project like Guilty, the situation was very advantageous, because sometimes these bottlenecks and constraints give way to incredible creativity. It calls on you to bring your tools and your experience. But when a movie like Ambulance is shot in a small space, we showed the real space of an ambulance, which became very difficult to play, move around and shoot a movie for several months.
What impression did he leave?
Shooting the film made me realize that people are saving lives in these vehicles. It gave me so much admiration for first responders that I never would have known. I’ve seen ambulances pass by me many times… It gave me so much admiration for the people doing the real work in this.
So, do you now call them real heroes?
Yes, they cross to keep someone alive. It’s just breathtaking. So playing in it was not comparable to what they do. We get our share of scratches and bruises from the hard edges, but they are the real heroes.