Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bollywood and Princeton

"Princeton expects a lot of its professors."

This is how Anthony Grafton began his article on the changing expectations of professors at Princeton, including running "departments and programs, doing original research, and other activities that make for a 'busy life.' "

He probably would not have imagined "screenwriting for Bollywood films" in his list. But history professor Gyan Prakash is doing exactly that. Prakash is rumored to be writing a script for a Bollywood trilogy being directed by critically acclaimed Anurag Kashyap and likely to be produced by Danny Boyle, of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame. "Bombay Velvet," set to be released in 2011, is reportedly a thriller based in 1940s-60s Mumbai (or Bombay, as it was then called). It is set to star Bollywood heartthrobs Sharukh Khan, John Abraham (!) and Aamir Khan. According to, the announcement for the film comes after Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed encouraged Boyle and other filmmakers to "explore the finer and deeper things that India has to offer, instead of focusing primarily on poverty and crime."

Image: John Abraham (l.) and Shahrukh Khan