'I Hate Bollywood' Says Canadian Comedian Russell Peters

The standup comedian stars in his first Indian film -- ice hockey drama 'Breakaway' and its Hindi version 'Speedy Singhs' -- but he says he prefers to work in Hollywood.

NEW DELHI – Canadian stand-up comedian Russell Peters – who has starred in Hollywood titles such as the Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Source Code – says Bollywood movies “are all garbage."

In India to promote his debut Indian film appearance in ice hockey drama Breakaway (which recently premiered at Toronto) and its Hindi dubbed version Speedy Singhs, Peters said in an interview with wire agency Press Trust of India, “I hate Bollywood. The movies are all garbage, just terrible. It's my opinion, obviously there are billions who like and love them. I don't like all the singing, dancing and all the dramatic crying. I have never seen a Bollywood film in my life. I have refused doing it earlier and will do so in future. But I hope some filmmakers take a chance of making real movies.”

Directed by Robert Lieberman, Breakaway / Speedy Singhs – which opens here Friday – is an Indo-Canadian venture coproduced by top Bollywood star Akshay Kumar while the cast includes Rob Lowe, Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls), veteran actor Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham) and a new lead actor in Vinay Virmani as a budding ice hockey player in Canada.

This is not the first time the 40-year-old comedian (born in Canada to Anglo-Indian parents) has voiced his opinion on Bollywood movies that have regularly been the butt of his jokes as part of his standup routine.

On his first India tour in 2008, Peters commented on top Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (who is married to fellow actor Abhishek Bachchan) at his performance in Delhi, “If you look good, you can act in a Bollywood movie, you don't have to be able to act; and Aishwarya Rai is a great example of this. She is a beautiful woman... You look at her, I want to look at her. Damn, she is fine; but stop acting or stop trying to act. Just be happy being this guy's wife, keep endorsing, modelling with the big eyes.”

When asked in an interview Thursday with the Hindustan Times newspaper about his past comments on Aishwarya Rai, Peters said, “She hasn’t become a better actor. She is still good looking, isn’t that good enough?”
Expanding his views on Indian actors Peters also told PTI, “I don't think Indian actors are good, a couple of them are like Anupam Kher but not many are there like him in the industry. There are thousand of actors and actresses in the industry but you can count on hand how many of them are really good, the rest of them are just pretty faces.”

As to why he chose to star in his first Indian film, Peters said, “I did this movie because it's not a Bollywood film but with only Indian actors. The script and character appealed to me and I am very pleased with the final product... I had a good time on the sets. My character is a lovable jerk.”

Peters also confessed to HT why he has never seen a Bollywood movie, “I tried watching (2008 hit comedy) Singh Is Kinng because Akshay Kumar is in it. But the minute the first song started, I changed the channel. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t want to hear that’.”

And Peters also admitted that he told Kumar about this, “Oh yeah, I’ve told him. I don’t hide my feelings. I’m not the kind of man who’s going to talk behind your back. I’m going to tell that right in your face... Akshay is cool. I didn't realise how big he was until I met him. He is a nice guy. I didn't expect a guy with such a stature will be so good.”
As for his acting career, Peters said, “I will never stop doing stand up, that's my career but I will do movies in Hollywood. In fact I am doing a couple of Hollywood movies like New Year's Eve (directed by Garry Marshall) and a movie with Eva Mendes.”

Peters is expected to return to India next year for another tour, “I miss coming out here. It’s home.”