An Interview for TIME OUT DELHI

Passing through Laurent Goldstein

by Karanjeet Kaur


February 17-March 1 2012

Laurent Goldstein trained in arch­i­tecture, and he’s since held down every kind of design job but designing buildings. He started working as a set designer in Paris, but took to designing clothes in the mid-’80s for brands such as Madame Carven, Burberry and Hermès. He took up photography and came to Varanasi in 2005, where he started a household linen line with designer Manish Gupta. Now, Goldstein is in Delhi, bringing together a team of French TV producers for a documentary on Zangoora – The Gypsy Prince at the Kingdom of Dreams. Karanjeet Kaur chatted with him about the influence of Bollywood on French cultural life.

Tell us about your first experience of Zangoora.

It was amazing! I have been to the theatre in America and Lon­don, but I was not prepared for the qua­lity I saw here. I also took away a message from it: that with a will and some hard work, you can achieve anything you like. As soon as I got out, I called my friend [TV producer] Dominique [Cantien] and told her we had to do something with this group. We then decided to produce a documentary to introduce King­dom of Dreams to the French and European market.

But what does a Bollywood musical have to do with France?

The French love Indian masala. We dream about India, and Bollywood is our starting point. Earlier, we only got to watch classical art films from India. All that changed with the Cannes premiere of Devdas in 2002. The film even appealed to the intellectuals – I know people who have watched it 20 times. Two years later,Veer-Zaara premiered in Paris on the same night as a Tom Cruise film: everyone turned up for the Veer-Zaara show. Since then, you hear Bollywood music everywhere – in home insurance and automobile commercials and in our clubs where Bally Sagoo performs so often. We love his songs even if we don’t understand the language; but then, we don’t understand English songs either. I think Bollywood is doing for us what it does for Indians. It is an escape from reality, a dream. And God knows that ever since the recession, we all need to dream.

What shape is the documentary finally taking?

We selected a few characters from the show, including actors Gauhar [Khan] and Husain [Kuwajerwala] and technicians, and we followed them around for two weeks to get a taste of their life. It was a revelation because we were not expecting them to be so humble. In France, the same people would be very difficult to handle. And we learned such interesting facts about people – one of the backup dancers is also a doctor. It is so heartening to see everyone come together from different backgrounds, and they all are like a big family.

See Performances in Theatre.


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