IBC: 'The Great Gatsby's' Amitabh Bachchan talks 'Sholay' 3D

"As Baz [Luhrmann] was touring India with a friend on a motorcycle, he wished to see me," the actor recalls.
Amitabh Bachchan in "The Great Gatsby"

A 3D version of the 1975 Bollywood classic Sholay will be release next month, according to its star Amitabh Bachchan, who spoke Friday at the International Broadcasting Convention as part of a keynote session that saluted 100 years of Indian cinema.

The 71-year-old Indian actor has appeared in more than 180 films, including Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby.

"Sholay was a landmark in many respects," said Bachchan. "The sound was stereophonic, we had British coordinators for the action sequences and it was shot in 70 mm film. The whole idea was to bring Western production values to an Indian film."

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"It makes sense to continue that tradition by converting it to 3D. I am not sure though whether audiences in India are ready for a super quality 3D film. 3D still has its limitations for viewers in terms of glasses. And there have been many attempts to remake classic films, whether black-and-white to color or in 3D, and some are successful and others are not."

Bachchan recently made his Hollywood debut in The Great Gatsby, playing the character of Meyer Wolfsheim.

"As Baz was touring India with a friend on a motorcycle, he wished to see me," he said. "We met and talked about Indian cinema, and he later called saying he had 'a small role that was not worthy of you,' but that's how it happened. It was not any kind of deliberate career move, more of a friendly gesture to Baz."

He added, "The attention to detail, the discipline and the research [in making The Great Gatsby] was incredible. There was a line in the book about this character who was in the 'Skull and Bones Club' at college. And so they lined the inside of his jacket with skull and bones -- you would hardly notice it on screen but it just puts you into that atmosphere, and into that mood."

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The actor is also host of Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

"There needs to be equality in society and also on the film set," the actor said. "Films are still primarily made where the male is the dominant action hero, but India has made films where a female character has been dominant. But what is really interesting is how many women are now working behind the camera. In the 1960s when I began, the only lady on set was the mother of the leading lady or a hairdresser, but if you come on to a set in Mumbai today 80 percent of the workforce is women doing every kind of role that previously only men did, from cinematography to production and ADs. And that's fantastic."

Also speaking during the session was Mohinder Walia, CEO of Mumbai Media City/Golden Bird Entertainment.

Underscoring the growing amount of filmmaking taking place in India, Golden Bird is building Mumbai Media City — scheduled to begin operations in 2014 — which will house new production, postproduction, visual effects and animation facilities, including five soundstages and a content-management infrastructure.