I know a lot of people in Bollywood: Jean-Claude Van Damme | Pakistan Today

I know a lot of people in Bollywood: Jean-Claude Van Damme

You’re best known for your role as Luc Deveraux. Why do you think this character became more popular than everything else you’ve done?
I am not sure that this is the case. I have enjoyed this character, and I have appeared as him four times, so perhaps the frequency of appearance leads to the perception of popularity. I think a number of other characters have shown staying power as well.

Five films so far as a villain (the latest one included). What’s the attraction?
I am an actor, I enjoy playing roles. It is always dependent on the script and story line.

You’ve worked in several films with both Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren. Doesn’t familiarity breed contempt in your case?
Why should it? They are great guys and I enjoy working with them.

Who do you think is competition right now?
You know, I love movies. I love watching movies and seeing other people’s performances. In my mind you don’t compete, you do what you do and hope people like it, and you appreciate what others do.

Save for JCVD (a mock biopic based on you) and a voiceover in Kung Fu Panda 2 (Master Croc), you’ve barely moved outside the action genre. Why’s that?
Welcome to the Jungle, a really fun comedy is just about to be released, so the answer is I am stretching my legs.

People constantly criticise Stallone for not ending the Rocky or Rambo series while at the peak. What are your reasons for sticking around with the franchises that made you famous?
Frankly, my role in Universal Soldier 4 is not central, and I enjoyed participating in the franchise, as well as the direction John Hyam’s has taken the franchise. Otherwise I don’t think you have seen me reprise roles very often. As for Stallone, my take on it is that people still very much enjoyed Rambo and Rocky so I personally would not criticize his choices, he has an excellent sense for what an audience wants.

Think Hollywood lacks real action heroes? With gadgets and gizmos taking over hardcore action, think the old-school heroes have a future?
I think it is all about the story and the quality of a film. Tastes change over time, sometimes returning to earlier times. One has to find good scripts, good co-stars and make a good film. Its not genre-specific or group-specific.

Most of your films are either VOD (Video On Demand) or DVD rental favorites. But they rarely, if ever, fare well at the box-office. Why do you think that is?
I don’t think that is correct. In the 80s and 90s, I did very well at the box office. I then went through a period where a lot of films were done as direct-to-DVD. I have now gone back to theatrical releases, I enjoy them more. Let’s see what the box office says.
You have quite the fan following in India (even in small cities) and people are more likely to be familiar with your work than with those of your peers. What do you think you’re doing right?
I think I am very fortunate that people enjoy
my work.

You were reported to be besotted by Aishwarya Rai and have liked her film Devdas the most. How true?
I think she is quite a good actress.

The same report said you were keen on working with Amitabh Bachchan. Are you really that familiar with Bollywood and our stars? If yes, what’s keeping you from working in Bollywood?
I know a number of the people in Bollywood and I like them very much. Nothing is keeping me from working with them, other than schedule and commitments.

Have you seen Bollywood action films? Fancy any favorites?
Every time I pick something, I later remember that I should have also mentioned something else as well. There are some really neat films that have been done, and I think there will be many more to come.

Plan on visiting India sometime soon?
I do tend to get around, so don’t be surprised if I show up.

Salman Khan wants to work with Tabu and Naseer in ‘Radhe’ Sohail Khan, at Salman Khan’s insistence, has sounded out Tabu and Naseer for his remake of Murugadoss’s Stalin Could Salman’s next, Radhe, give his image the kind of makeover he so seems to desire? The Sohail Khan directorial, which is a remake of southern hit, AR Murugadoss’s Stalin (2006), will see Khan play a good Samaritan – a far cry from the roles he has been essaying to the hilt of late.
According to a report in TOI: And to give the film a certain gravitas, the actor has reportedly sounded out both Tabu and Naseeruddin Shah to share screen space with him. When contacted, Sohail said, “(The actors) have not confirmed yet.” A source close to the film told TOI, “Before leaving for Dubai, Sohail spoke to Tabu and Shah for two important roles in the film.”
Elaborating on Sohail’s unusual choice, the source said, “It was at Khan’s insistence that Tabu and Shah were contacted. Khan felt that the supremely talented duo could give the film a touch of class. Also, the film sees him as a military officer who sets out to reform society and Sohail, needs cerebral actors.” Initial reports suggest Tabu will play Khan’s sister in the film, while it is not clear what Shah will be portraying. Incidentally, Radhe will be the first film with Khan and Shah in it. As for Tabu, this will be Salman’s fourth film co-starring the actress. The first three being , Hum Saath Saath Hain, Biwi No 1 and Jeet.

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