He lived in London's Brick Lane for 10 years, watched his share of Bollywood entertainers and now James Bobin, director of "The Muppets" and its forthcoming sequel "Muppets Most Wanted", says he would love to collaborate with Indian stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan.
Bobin wants Indian viewers to soak in the "chaotic, colourful and musical" fun that "Muppets Most Wanted" offers.
In an email interview with IANS, the Los Angeles-based director shared the idea behind the sequel, which releases in the US and in India on Friday.
Q. Are you aware of Bollywood?
A. Yes, I'm very aware of the Bollywood industry. In London, I lived in Brick Lane for 10 years, so I watched a lot of films in local restaurants...usually, quite bright classic 1960s or 1970s films, but in more recent times I'm a big fan of Amitabh Bachchan and think Irrfan Khan is great - would love to do something with either.
Q. What do you think audiences in India will like about "Muppets Most Wanted"?
A. For any audience, spending 90 minutes of your time with the Muppets should be chaotic, colourful, musical fun - so I hope people in India will like that.
Q.Some people feel characters like the Muppets only appeal to kids. Do you agree?
A. When Jim Henson created the 'Muppet Show' back in the 1970s, he very much squarely aimed at everybody - it was on in the evening in Britain and the US - and therefore really targeted at adults. But children of course also loved it because it was puppets and because it was silly fun.
I sort of feel the same now and ensure it works just as well for the 40-year-old me as it does for my six-year-old daughter. And I really think 'Muppets Most Wanted' does that. Adults, I hope, will love it.
Q. What inspired you to do a sequel to "The Muppets"?
A. I wanted to tell the story of 'what happened next'... having got the Muppets back together again in the 2011 film, I really wanted to explore where they would go and what they would do next. And of course, we do this quite literally in the film!
Q. In what ways does the new movie up the ante in terms of the entertainment it offers?
A. I think it offers more scope and scale...this one feels as if we are following different stories across a variety of international locations - London, Berlin, Madrid, Dublin, Siberia...I also think it is more of an out and out comedy. It probably has a higher joke count!
Q. Where was the film shot?
A. We shot the film primarily in Britain - with a few days on stage in Los Angeles. But the vast majority was at Pinewood Studios in London and on location in and around London.
Q. What do you think audiences will enjoy most about "Muppets Most Wanted"?
A. I hope they like all of it - the songs, the laughs, and the heart. Emotion is a very important part of any Muppet movie - you really care for the whole Muppet gang and I'm really pleased that people really have fond memories of them from their childhood.
Q. Will we see more Muppets movies in the near future?
A. I certainly hope so. This ending is very open-ended, and besides, Muppet movies often don't follow on from each other - so they could really do anything they wanted from this point.
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])