Hollywood actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones are in love with India and they made no bones about this fact by singing paeans of Bollywood movies and thanked the International Film Festival of India for bestowing upon them this opportunity to be here for the fest.
"Our family loves India and this is our fourth visit to the country," said Douglas, "and we are just looking forward to a great time here." He was addressing a time-constrained packed media conference at the 54th International Film Festival of India after walking the red carpet on Monday, November 27, 2023.
While Douglas said it was a great honour to receive the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award, Catherine said India was very special to her because when she was 18 months an Indian doctor saved her life by doing a tracheostomy on her.
The BAFTA award winning actress revealed that she had never shared this story to anyone before. "I wonder why I have this feeling of coming home when I am in India and I am forever indebted to this country," she mentioned emotionally.
Answering a question, Douglas recounted how in the 60s he was impacted by the cinema of Ray and vividly recounted the movie Charulata, which was written and directed by Satyajit Ray.
Catherine said she was a big fan of Bollywood movies and would love to be cast in one. "I loved the film Lunch Box and I liked it so much that I watched it twice because it touched me so much," she stated. She also shared her liking for the Bollywood movie Om Shanti Om which she has watched many time with her family and friends.
Catherine Zeta Jones
Answering a question on Indian cinema over the years, Douglas said under the Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi it was a very successful phase for movie-making in the country. There is money going into film production and "this festival is the reflection of the strength of Indian cinema."
He said there are so many different languages around the world, but movies share the same language and though "we come from different backgrounds, movies bring us close together. This is a very important aspect of cinema."
On a question about how difficult was it for him to step out of his famous father, Kirk Douglas's shadow, he said it took him a long time to do so and when he won the Oscars it had nothing to do with his father.
"I have shared with my children the pressures they too will go through of having Michael Douglas as their father," he said pointing to his son who was present in the front row at the press conference.
Earlier, stepping on to the red carpet, along with his wife, Catherine, he said it was his first visit to Goa and he was having crash course in its history and at the same time enjoying "your beautiful beaches and it is was a pleasure to be here." And if all things go as planned, the Douglas is working on an Indian film project. It is not ready yet, I am still working on the script, he said, revealing nothing more.