Bollywood should come to Brazil: Suzana Amaral

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 23, 2009 12:25 hrs

Brazilian film director Suzana Amaral whose film Hotel Altantic was well received at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Bollywood movies should come to Brazil "in a big way", says veteran Brazilian filmmaker Suzana Amaral, describing herself as a fan of Hindi movies from the 1970s. We can learn a lot from Bollywood

"Our two great nations should start forging deeper cultural ties. I want Bollywood to come to Brazil in a big way. Their films are gorgeous and we can learn a lot from them," the 77-year-old said in an interview in Toronto, Canada.

Amaral's movie Hotel Altantico was premiered last week at the Toronto International Film Festival. She was probably the oldest film director at the festival.

"I used to watch every Bollywood film when I was studying film direction at New York University in the mid-1970s. There used to be a theatre on 56th Street which screened only Bollywood films. I never missed one," the Rio de Janeiro-based filmmaker said.

A veteran of 56 films

"India and Brazil are the next superpowers. Future belongs to us. We used to be called underdeveloped, but not any more."

She added that she would love to have her films screened at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, a former Portuguese enclave.

A veteran of 56 films, she won the Silver Berlin Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1986 for her film The Hour of the Star.

Amaral praises Indian audiences for supporting the Indian film industry.

"I salute Bollywood and Indian audiences for supporting their film industry. That's why it is the biggest in terms of number of films produced each year while we in Brazil produce only about 80 films."

Amaral has been invited to a film festival in Kerala in December. But she said she would not be able attend because of family commitments.

Buddhism and the movies

"I have nine children, and (they have) large families. I have to be with them for Christmas, though I am not Christian. But I look forward being in India some time later."

A practising Buddhist, she said she would love to interact not only with Bollywood directors while in India but also the Dalai Lama.

"How far is Dharamshala from the Indian capital? I would love to see the Dalai Lama when I am there," she said, referring to the Indian hill town where the Tibetan spiritual leader is based. "I meditate daily and live by Buddhism principles."

Her film Hotel Atlantico is a manifestation of her Buddhist beliefs. In the film, an unnamed character - played by upcoming star Julio Andrade - wanders through life without any destination, allowing fate to decide his course.

"For me this film is semi-autobiographical. Being a Buddhist, I take life as it comes, so does the protagonist of this film. I live in the present moment. I don't bother about what will happen next or what happened in the past," she said.

In between, Amaral has thrown in a lot of humour and sexuality in the film. Hotel Atlantico, well received in Toronto, opens in Brazil in November.