» Movies » Mike Meyers to Bollywood: I'm your man

Mike Meyers to Bollywood: I'm your man

By Arthur J Pais
June 19, 2008 12:54 IST
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Mike Myers, the writer and actor in the outrageous comedy The Love Guru, which some Hindus have found to be offensive, wants to star in a Bollywood musical. And he is very serious about it.

"I would love to be in a Bollywood film," he said at the press day for The Love Guru held at Waldorf Astoria Tower, New York, on Wednesday. "If a Bollywood director wants to hire a 45-year-old Scottish-English-Canadian actor, who does comedies, I'm their man," he said.

The actor plays crazed guru in The Love Guru, which opens in America and Canada this Friday. He has famously lent his voice to a swamp-loving ogre in the Shrek movies, and played a caricature of James Bond in the Austin Powers films.

His Austin Power films, which he also co-produced and co-wrote, are famous for spoofing James Bond, he said. But that was not the whole story. The two films, which have grossed over $600 million worldwide, are "more of a Bollywood musical than they are a parody of James Bond," he said. "You will find in them the same colour palette that you would see in a Bollywood film.

"I grew up in Toronto watching Bollywood. I go to a party, come home, put on Channel 47 and be transported to this world of colour, story, passion and music," said Myers, the son of working class migrants from Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Working in a Bollywood film would be more than a privilege, he said, adding that he would love to document the experience for HBO. "I want to see India doing what it is that I love," he continued. "And that is opposed to being a tourist. There's nothing wrong with being a tourist but I have an extraordinary life. I want to capitalise on it. I want to be a working actor [there] just like I'm a working actor here and then do the compare and contrast."

Myers, who started reading spiritual books in 1991 after his father died, became close to
Deepak Chopra after reading several books by the holistic guru. The two are good friends, and have appeared in many unannounced stand up events in New York and Toronto where Myers would imitate Chopra's accent (as he does throughout The Love Guru) and Chopra makes fun of Myers.

"On weekends, I would love to visit the holy sites and all the wonderful, magical places of India," the actor-director said. "I want to go to India; it's been my fantasy for many, many years. In fact, one incarnation of this movie was that I was going to do a film of going to Bollywood. So if any of you guys know a Bollywood director..."

Won't his friend Deepak Chopra help him? "That would be fabulous," he said, with a broad smile.

India also meant special to him because of George Harrison, and the latter's passion for sitar, Myers said.

"My favourite Beatle was George Harrison," he continued. "I was fascinated with him. I have the last letter that George Harrison ever wrote to anybody. You can pinch me in a moment: I don't know how that happened. I'm an idiot from Toronto and then I get a knock on the door on the day that he died and the letter says, 'I was looking all over for you, I couldn't find you though, thank you very much for the funny movies. Your fan, George Harrison.'

"In an ABC special, I had mentioned how I was fascinated with A Hard Day's Night [the hit movie featuring the Beatles]. At the end of that movie, a helicopter takes off and I cried every time it took off. I wanted Austin Powers to have that same kind of anarchic fun," Meyers added.

Myers, who sings in the new film while playing the sitar, said, "I've always loved the sitar. It is a magical, transformative and emotive instrument and sensitive to music. I grew up in a very musical house. I got a chance to play it in the movie."

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Arthur J Pais