SO THE FILM IS NOT TO GET PEOPLE STIRRED UP ABOUT HOW UNJUST THINGS ARE IN INDIA BUT TO ENTERTAIN US?
Yes, if you like. The values of the story are universal: Jamal's romanticism, his underdog status, that dream he has that he will fulfill, whatever is put in his way.
I HEAR YOU'RE THINKING NOW OF DOING A THRILLER OR A GANGSTER FILM IN MUMBAI.
I'd love to do a thriller there. It's got a lot going for a thriller. It's pretty much unregulated, it's got a corrupt police and staggering amounts of money. The lifeblood of capitalism is expansion, which is why we have a problem here at the moment because it's hit the wall. If it doesn't expand, it contradicts itself. But it expands there. And so you've got this wealth and then you've got, as in Dickensian London, this massive underclass who are feeding it, being terribly impoverished but also having a slight spending power, all adding to the expansion of the system. And you've got a Bollywood system where the stars are both gods and gangsters at the same time, deities that the underclass aspire to. And the stars often team with the gangsters because the gangsters are obsessed with the movies. So you see, in terms of a thriller, it has a lot going for it.
IN OTHER WORDS, THE INDIANGODFATHER.
They've already done it. They remake all the Hollywood films. One of the crew members had a birthday party and there's five of them sleeping in this room and there's a telly in the background and on it I have this weird sensation of seeing One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was a shot-for-shot remake. Except it was an Indian cast led by Salman Khan playing the Jack Nicholson part.
HAVE YOU SEEN ONE OF YOUR OWN MOVIES REMADE?
That would be truly surreal. But they're not popular enough.
(Peter Keough posted a longer version of this interview on his blog, Outside the Frame. It's available in three parts: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3.
, Jack Nicholson, Trainspotting, Danny Boyle, More