IFFI 2023: Satyajit Ray was a renaissance man, says Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award
Renowned Hollywood actor and producer Michael Douglas, who will be honoured with the prestigious Satyajit Ray Excellence in Film Lifetime Award tomorrow, November 28 at IFFI 2023, answered questions from the media during a press conference.
Michael Douglas has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and the Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Expressing gratitude for being bestowed with this award, Michael said that he loves India and it is his first time visiting Goa. Speaking about Satyajit Ray and his influence on his life, he mentioned that he was made aware of his work back in college in the 1960s when he took film classes. "He is a Renaissance man. He did so many jobs as an author, in music, directing and editing. Pather Panchali was the first film we watched and then it was Charulatha. He is an extraordinary man. There is nothing heroic about his films, but he shows the reality."
Michael Douglas' wife Catherine Zeta-Jones said India is very dear to her and her family's hearts. Sharing a story that touched her deeply, Catherine said that a doctor from India saved her life as an 18-month-old. "I am forever indebted to him. Whenever I come to India, it has always been a feeling of coming home," she said.
Catherine also spoke about her love for Indian movies and said that her favourite Bollywood movie is Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Om Shanti Om. When asked if she would like to be a part of an Indian film, Catherine said she would love that and went on to praise Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox. “In fact, one of my favourite films, which is not Bollywood, is called The Lunchbox, which is one of my favourite films of all time,” she said. "I watched that film twice. It touched me so much. I was able to meet Ritesh Batra. I am still waiting for him to write Lunchbox 2 for me," she added.
On his observation of Indian films and the industry, Michael Douglas said, "Thanks to the amount of money being put into making films in the last few years, we are having more successful films. In IFFI 2023, we had 78 foreign countries represented which is a reflection of the strength of the Indian film industry. Streaming is also playing an important part."
Douglas, the son of film legend Kirk Douglas and British actress Diana Dill, received much of his education in filmmaking by accompanying his father to various film locations. He appeared with Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito in the highly successful action-adventure Romancing the Stone (1984) and its sequel, The Jewel of the Nile (1985). While making its next part Racing the Monsoon, Michael revealed, "The most important part of it is the script. We never got it quite right and back then the film needed the use of a lot of trains. The best time for trains in India was not the monsoon season. It was difficult back then hopefully we will get through the second draft of the script now."
For a person who has been in the limelight for several decades now, the Ant-Man actor said it took a long time for him to step out of his father's shadow. "When I won the Oscar for Wall Street, it was the moment when I felt like I was nominated by my fellow actors and it had nothing to do with my father. It was a tremendous moment."