The Hollywood star was the surprise attraction of the film's Mumbai tour, hanging out with the cast and brainstorming about 'dance steps' with Shah Rukh Khan.
Brad Pitt jams with Shah Rukh Khan on 'dancing' during War Machine promotions
25 May 2017 11:30 IST
Updated : 11:43 IST
For viewers sitting in at the special screening of Netflix movie War Machine in Mumbai on Wednesday, there was the surprise bonus of having Brad Pitt in the house. The Hollywood star stole into the city without fanfare, and arrived to surprise the viewers during the interaction with director, David Michod, and the rest of the crew.
Pitt, whose last trip to India was in 2012 for the filming of A Mighty Heart with wife Angelina Jolie, is starring in the Netflix film as an overambitious American general leading his troops to war. The film is also co-produced by Pitt's production house, Plan B.
At the film screening, Pitt was joined by director David Michod, and president of Plan B productions, Dede Gardner. Speaking about his ambitions as producer, Pitt said, "Films to me broadened my world. I feel even more so now than I did earlier. Especially as a producer." The Ocean's Eleven star began his career as producer in 2006, and has gone on to produce films like The Departed (2006), 12 Years a Slave (2013), and Moonlight (2016).
While the actor has gone through some tough times recently, with the divorce to wife Angelina Jolie, he maintained that his love for filmmaking has not reduced. Pitt even suggested that it keeps the 'noise' out of his life. He said, "I don't pay attention to the noise around me. I love the filmmaking community. I have met some of the best people here."
The actor later joined Shah Rukh Khan, and film critic Rajeev Masand at a joint interaction for Netflix to promote the film. Khan, whose Red Chillies Entertainment entered into a partnership with Netflix in December last year, played the genial host to Pitt as they shared ideas about filmmaking, production, and Indian cinema.
The decision to release War Machine, a big budget film that does not subscribe to Hollywood notions of a star film, was also a key question of the interaction. Speaking of it, Pitt said, "It's because the way the studio system is right now in Hollywood. It just can't support risky films like this, of this budget certainly.” The actor-producer was quite impressed by the radical changes the online platforms have provided filmmakers with. Pitt said, "the beauty of Netflix for the film viewer is that now more films are getting made, more interesting filmmakers are getting a chance which means a greater variety."
Khan agreed with the view, saying that such platforms offer filmmakers to aim for a wider audience. Khan said, "With Netflix, you don't just have an Indian audience but a world audience."
Another topic that found both actor-producers agreeing was the 'cross pollination of cultures'. Pitt, whose Plan B Productions recently helmed the Cannes bound Okja, said, "Different cultures now are cross-pollinating ideas and styles...We are definitely seeking out more of these experiences."
The mutual admiration between the two global stars was not lost on the crowd. Khan mentioned how Pitt's performances in 12 Monkeys (1995) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) was an inspiration. Pitt revealed that he locked himself in a room for the 1995 cult classic to find out 'how crazy can you get.'
Seeing how the two began their careers in the 90s and continue to go strong, Pitt said, "I constantly look for something new and we (he and SRK) have been fortunate to survive our mistakes along the way. I think I just try to be relevant."
Khan agreed saying, "When I came in 25 years ago I wanted to make some films and I haven't made all of them because you have to be a part of the system. I produce films that no one else will produce, films that nobody else wants to make. Now, we make some films to make money to produce those films." The Dear Zindagi actor also suggested that unless Indian cinema adopts 'professionalism, technology, and screenwriting from Hollywood, the Indian film industry will be in trouble in the next ten-fifteen years.'
While the cinephile had their fill of this interaction, there was some memorable humour added to it courtesy the witty Shah Rukh Khan. Brad Pitt was, naturally, skeptical of his entry into 'Bollywood' saying, "It’s the same there. But we don’t have dance. I will never make it in Bollywood. I can’t dance." However, Shah Rukh Khan was quite keen on getting Pitt to agree saying, "Oh, we’ll make you dance. We make everyone dance." Khan even pointed out that when things get complicated, he 'just spreads his arms and do nothing, that's a step,' to the crowd's amusement.
War Machine releases on Netflix on 26 May, and is based on Michael Hastings' book 'The Operators: The Wild & Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan.'