This year's International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) in Tampa, Florida, will premiere the film I Went Shopping for Robert De Niro, produced and directed by renowned Indian and international actor Anupam Kher.
The film pays tribute to iconic Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, Anupam Kher's co-star from the Oscar nominated film Silver Linings Playbook (2012). The film’s writer and main actor, Shivangi Kshirsagar, who actually did go shopping for De Niro describes the film as wild, feminine, and brazen. She portrays the role of the girl who goes shopping for De Niro in the short-film and has tried to best represent what she has seen of De Niro’s work in the 29-minute short film.
In a February 2013 NDTV story, Anupam talked about the genesis of the film:
"I have been wanting to direct a film for the past one year. When I came back from the USA after completing Silver Lining's Playbook, Yamini, the writer of the short film, narrated the concept to me and I thought it is a wonderful story and I wanted to tell it. I decided to direct and produce it," said Anupam Kher in a statement.
The cast and crew includes fans of De Niro, who have worked passionately to pay their respects to the 69-year-old actor.
I Went Shopping for Robert De Niro is a story of two girls at the crossroads of their lives and what happens to them on that particular day when they go shopping for De Niro.
Anupam Kher is undoubtedly one of the finest and best-known actors in Indian cinema, appearing in over 460 films and numerous theatre productions. He has been a part of many Hindi-cinema classics, including Daddy (1989), Lamhe (1991), Darr (1993), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Chaahat, A Wednesday (2008), and Special 26. Kher has also been a part of a number of crossover and mainstream Hollywood films including Midnight’s Children (2012), Bend It Like Beckham (2012), Bride and Prejudice (2004), Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger (2010) and the Oscar nominated movie, Silver Linings Playbook (2012).
The actor currently runs India's finest acting school, Actor Prepares. In 2013, Robert De Niro visited the acting school where he met many of the Bollywood's actors.
Kher, who is also sharing his craft through an acting workshop at IIFA Awards 2014, talked about the film and De Niro's visit:
“The film has had an exciting journey which came a sort of full circle for us on 10th November, 2013, when Mr De Niro visited our (acting) school and met the team. It was a very special occasion and I invited some prominent actors and directors from the Indian film industry to meet him. It was fun to watch some of our biggest stars sit around him – like students who crowd around their guru -- while De Niro patiently answered questions about his work, characters, scripts, co-actors, his films, his associations with filmmakers, etc. He graciously signed books, pictures and DVDs for everyone. It was such a memorable evening. He wrote a note for my students and teachers as well.
“Having the World Premiere at IIFA in Tampa, Florida, showcases in essence the spirit of the short film, where a group of Indian artists pay tribute to the American legend, as India celebrates the centenary of Indian Cinema this year.”
Speaking on the acting workshop and premiere, Andre Timmins, Director – Wizcraft International and IIFA said,
"IIFA has long endeavoured to introduce the short film into the Weekend. We want to promote different films and give opportunities to students to be a part of the Indian cinema and IIFA experience. We look forward to screening I Went Shopping for Robert De Niro. We believe it will showcase both Indian and American aspects, making it a perfect premiere for IIFA in the United States and a catalyst for cinematic exchange."
Mr Kher’s acting workshop, based on the techniques perfected at his acting studio Actor Prepares in Mumbai, was a major success at earlier IIFA celebrations and is a must-attend event in the Videocon D2H IIFA Weekend calendar. Led by the veteran actor, the Acting Workshop aims at helping acting enthusiasts decipher the craft of performance and dramatics while tapping into the potential of many a budding actor. The workshop will also throw light on various topics on Indian cinema and will provide guidance to those seeking a professional career within the acting fraternity. The workshop on the 24th of April is open to students of University of South Florida.
Check out some of the other IIFA news stories and events.