Topping local box offices when it first premiered in May, My Indian Boyfriend <我的印度男友> is Hong Kong’s first Bollywood movie. The story revolves around a passionate romance between an Indian man and Hong Kong woman, and the difficulties of an interracial relationship.
Full of family warmth, the Cantonese-Hindi movie incorporates Hong Kong humor while retaining traditional Bollywood elements of song and dance sequences in its storytelling. Directed by Sri Kishori, the film incorporates some of his own experiences he faced while living in Hong Kong, and sheds light on how ethnic minorities live in the city.
Preparing for Their Roles
In their first leading roles, Karan Cholia and Shirley Chan (陳欣妍) share surprising good chemistry together. In a recent interview, they chat about their filming experiences and how My Indian Boyfriend opened up new opportunities.
For Shirley, the most difficult obstacle during filming was that most of the cast and crew were Indian. “The script was originally in Hindi, then it was translated to English, and finally to Cantonese. The method of acting and delivery of dialogue is very different from a Hong Kong film. Before filming, we had communicated extensively on how to bring the story to life in the most natural way possible.”
Although Karan was born and raised in Hong Kong, he cannot read Chinese so he felt a lot of pressure and difficulty in understanding some of his Cantonese lines. “I asked my Hong Kong friends to read the script to me, and then I would write down the romanization for each word.”
As a fan of Bollywood movies, Shirley was very excited to film My Indian Boyfriend but regrets that she did not have any dancing scenes. On the other hand, Karan has to dance from start to finish. “I practiced every day for a year and I can finally dance now! I wanted to continue classes after filming ended, but the classes in Hong Kong are very expensive and the director’s classes are too advanced for me,” the actor said.
When they first met, Shirley felt that Karan was very shy, however she slowly realized his narcissistic side. “He has to check himself out in the mirror every time he passes one–maybe it’s because he feels that he is too good looking!” As he does not have a makeup artist, Karan said it has become a force of habit to be very aware of his own appearance. “She is correct–I am pretty good looking. Haha!”
On Interracial Romance
Although they portray an interracial couple in My Indian Boyfriend, Shirley does not have this experience in real life. “I don’t have many foreigners in my circle of friends, so I don’t have experience falling in love or being pursued by someone of another race. I think Hong Kongers might be more suitable for me. I hope my current relationship with Sammy Sum (沈震軒) will be my last one, so I haven’t given any thought to future relationships.”
Karan shared that he has dated a Chinese girl, who was his first love during high school. “I studied at an international school, and they only taught very simple Chinese phrases. My girlfriend taught me Chinese and how to use chopsticks. In turn, I taught her how to eat naan with her hands. We were a team–she would help me with my Chinese homework and I would help her with her English homework.” They didn’t experience any clashing of cultures, but broke up after five years together due to differences in personalities.
Movie Gains Attention in India
With My Indian Boyfriend being promoted in India, Shirley has received many casting invites from India. Unfortunately, she has not been able to travel due to the pandemic. “There were plans to film some scenes in India, but we had to change this due to the pandemic.”
Karan hopes to stay in Hong Kong to develop his career, but if an opportunity presents itself, he is willing to go to India. Pointing out that Indian actors in Hong Kong are always given stereotypical roles that cast them in a negative light, Karan said, “I want to change the way our race is viewed. If there is a chance to develop my career in Hong Kong, then I want to film movies that demonstrate my acting skills and also become a voice for my people.”
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.