If you haven’t heard of Bollywood, the India-based film industry, you’re missing out! The rich music, vibrant fashion and exotic dancing captivate viewers worldwide. But if that’s not enough to pique your interest, consider this: Bollywood is bringing archery to the big screen.
The Times of India stated that Evelyn Sharma, an Indian-German actress and model, will complete a 10-day archery training course to prepare for an upcoming Bollywood role. Originally, the archery scenes were to feature a professional archer and visual effects, but Sharma insisted on trying it herself, and “succeeded flawlessly,” The Times said.
Although details about the movie’s name, release date or plot are unknown, Sharma was clearly eager to get her hands on a bow.
Here are five more things you should know about Bollywood, and archery’s ties to India.
1. Bollywood’s rich culture inspires millions.
Bollywood, one of the world’s largest film industries, is based in present-day Mumbai, an area formerly known as Bombay. Bombay + Hollywood = Bollywood. Bollywood’s influence is seen worldwide, and even British royals William and Kate are drawn to India’s rich culture. But what about Bollywood’s influence in the U.S.?
The crossover between Bollywood and Hollywood increased with the 2008 box-office hit “Slumdog Millionaire.” The film follows an 18-year-old Jamal Malik from the slums of Mumbai to the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” stage. One question away from winning 20 million rupees, Malik is arrested on suspicions of cheating.
“Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up,” wrote Fox Searchlight Pictures. “Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes.”
“Slumdog” took eight Oscars, including the Oscar for best picture. CNN praised the film, describing it as “East meeting West, Bollywood meeting Hollywood.”
Anil Kapoor, who played game-show host Prem Kumar, also praised “Slumdog’s” Bollywood roots. “It is completely a Bollywood film,” he told Devansh Patel of the Bollywood Hungama News Network. “The story is very Indian and so are all the actors,” he said, explaining that everyone – professional or newcomer – was somehow connected to Indian roots. “Indian cinema should be very proud of Slumdog Millionaire,” he said.
Kapoor has since starred in several U.S. hits, including “24” and “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” And he’s taking U.S. hits to Bollywood, too. Kapoor played the lead role and executive produced the Indian adaptation of “24.”
In June, The Hollywood Reporter revealed Lionsgate and Kapoor will co-produce the Hindi version of “Red,” an action-comedy originally produced by Summit Entertainment.
“This successful movie that boasts a huge multi-star cast is perfect for India as it has all the elements our audience loves — action, drama and comedy mounted on a huge canvas,” Kapoor said.
2. Priyanka Chopra brings Bollywood to primetime television with “Quantico.”
Bollywood looks pretty good on a smaller screen, too. Say, primetime?
“Quantico” star Priyanka Chopra is a Bollywood mega-star and former Miss World. Her role as FBI agent Alex Parrish made her the first Indian woman to star in a leading American TV network drama. But her history-making role and badass fighting skills (seriously, check it out) are just two reasons to love her.
Chopra wowed viewers with her poise and honesty on the Oscars’ red carpet, advocating global storytelling and championing young adults to look beyond stereotypes.
“I love saris; I love music; I love henna; I love dancing, but that’s not all we are,” Chopra told Frazier Tharpe from Complex. “I want to be able to break the stereotype of what Indian people or people of South Asian descent are supposed to be. Nobody’s supposed to be anything. You can be whoever you want. And I want young people to see that.”
You can even be a world-class archer.
3. Deepika Kumari paves the way for India’s women’s recurve team.
Deepika Kumari isn’t an actress, and she doesn’t appear on the Bollywood big screen, but she’s a star in her own right. Kumari is just one of the women who will represent India at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
According to The Quint, Kumari was born to an auto-rickshaw driver and a nurse in Jharkhand, India. Kumari started archery in 2006 and quickly rose to fame after winning two gold medals at Delhi’s 2010 Commonwealth Games when she was only 16. Two years later, she climbed the world rankings and entered the London 2012 Olympic Games as the No. 1 ranked archer in the world. In April of 2016, Kumari tied the women’s recurve world record, earning a record title alongside reigning Olympic gold medalist Ki Bo Bae.
According to World Archery, Kumari recently received a Padmi Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honor in India, for her contribution to sport. Kumari will represent India alongside teammates Bombayla Devi Laishram and Laxmirani Majhi at the 2016 Olympic Games.
4. India aims for gold in Rio.
Despite being located more than 8,000 miles apart, a love of sport and film links the U.S. and India. While Priyanka Chopra and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson collaborate for the upcoming “Baywatch” movie, archers Deepika Kumari and U.S. archer Mackenzie Brown compete on the World Cup stage and, in a few short weeks, will vie for medals at the Olympic Games.
According to Rio 2016 reporter Mark Beresford, India will send over 100 athletes – its largest ever Olympic team – and four archers to the 2016 Olympics. India’s men’s and women’s teams earned one and three quota slots, respectively, at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, where the women took silver ahead of Olympic frontrunner Republic of Korea. That event served as a launching pad for their success on the 2016 World Cup circuit.
India’s current World Cup standing bodes well for the team’s Olympic performance. Kumari holds a No. 9 World Cup Ranking among recurve women, contributing to the women’s recurve team’s No. 4 world ranking. The recurve men are ranked No. 11 in the World Rankings, with Antanu Das ranked No. 10 in the World Cup Rankings. Das is India’s sole male archery competitor for the 2016 Olympics.
5. The U.S. and India could go head-to-head at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The race between the U.S. and India’s women’s recurve teams is tight heading into the Olympics, with the teams ranked No. 5 and 4 in the world, respectively. The U.S. didn’t qualify a full women’s team for the Games. However, Mackenzie Brown, ranked No. 4 in the world and known as Team USA’s “girl on fire,” represents the U.S. as an individual women’s competitor. So although the teams won’t go head-to-head, a shoot-off between Kumari and Brown is possible.
The tables are turned for the men’s competition; the U.S. qualified a full men’s team while India only qualified an individual male competitor, Antanu Das. Will Das shoot against U.S. archer Zach Garrett, the No. 2 men’s recurve archer in the world? Maybe.
Watch the U.S. and India’s archery teams compete in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games August 5 – August 21.