He has almost completed reading the “Bhagvat Gita” and plans to go to Rishikesh next time. For Hollywood superstar Will Smith, reading the holy book while in India is like channelling his “inner Arjuna”. The actor, who was on his fourth trip to India, said he loves the country and its history. “I have been here a few times. I love the history. I am 90 per cent through with the ‘Bhagvat Gita’… and to be reading it and to be here, my inner Arjuna is being channelled. I am going to go to Rishikesh next time. I am definitely going to be spending a lot more time here,” he told journalists yesterday. The actor, who was on a one-day visit, brought along the cast – Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace and director David Ayer – of his latest Netflix movie “Bright” for the premiere in Mumbai. As he took the stage at a fan event here, he won over the crowd, who had waited for hours to see him, with his exuberance. “I am Will Smith. We are very excited to be here,” the actor told fans just before the premiere last night.
In a media round table earlier in the day, Smith fondly recalled the great food he had at Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s place during his last trip. “The last time I was here, we had a party at Akshay’s place. I loved the food. It was the best food I ever had in my life,” he said, adding that he did not feel it would be right to call the Bollywood actor and get some food over as he was only staying for a day. His co-star Edgerton said he attended a Bollywood award function and visited the sets of “Ferrari Ki Sawaari” the last time he was in India. “I came here in 2012. I visited the set of ‘Ferrari Ki Sawaari’ and I went to a Bollywood award function and presented the best film with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. He got up in front of everybody and said, ‘This is my friend Joel, you have no idea who he is, Google him.’ I went red in the face but it was amazing,” the Australian actor said. Both Edgerton and Ayer had stories about Smith’s “always happy” attitude and how it sometimes got to them.
Asked who the prankster on the sets was, everyone pointed to Smith.
“I like to have fun but Joel had to go through three and half hours of make-up every day. So he was not in a joking mood. He was not very jokey,” Smith said. “Bright” is set in an alternate version of present day Los Angeles in which Orcs, Elves and humans live side-by- side. The story revolves around a human LAPD officer and his Orc companion as they patrol the streets. They battle their prejudice and mistrust to protect a relic, which in the wrong hands, could destroy the world. Edgerton, who plays the role of an Orc police officer opposite Smith, said his highlight was sitting in a car and waving at people at traffic lights in his full Orc make-up to scare them.
“Will likes to have too much fun and he is a little bit too positive. I remember, one day he comes to me and he is in this positive mood and he is like, ‘What’s up’ and I am like, ‘Will, leave me alone’.” Ayer said he was racing against time to complete the film as they were behind schedule and Smith would try to cheer him up. “For some reason, I like to shoot in the dark and in the rain. It looks good. Will Smith will come singing Christmas carols and songs and I am very angry because we are behind schedule. No matter how hard he tried, he could not make me happy but I think I succeeded in making him a little sad,” the director joked. Smith said he enjoyed working on the sci-fi crime drama, out on Netflix on December 22, because it gave him a chance to look at racism from the other side.
“It is about racism and how we treat each other. In this film, Elves are the top of the society and they represent those who have and Orcs represent those who do not have and humans are in the middle. “My character, as an African-American, is racist against the Orcs. It was an interesting exploration about how we treat each other. What I love about science-fiction is that you get to go into this bizarre fantasy world but you are actually talking about real things,” he said. Rapace, who plays the role of a Elf, Leilah, said the film had multiple layers and offered an interesting perspective.