Pitt came to Mumbai as part of a world tour to promote his Netflix film 'War Machine'.

When Brad Pitt and Shah Rukh Khan met and talked about dancing films and the future of cinemaPhoto courtesy Netflix India/Twitter
Flix Films Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 13:58

We were all eyes and ears when the two heartthrobs Shah Rukh Khan and Brad Pitt got together to promote Pitt’s upcoming film War Machine on Netflix. 

So when the two superstars met in Mumbai on Wednesday, the result was kinds of cute.

Pitt came to Mumbai as part of a world tour to promote his Netflix film War Machine, which will start streaming on the online platform on Friday. He met Shah Rukh Khan at the Trident hotel in a discussion on Netflix and its impact on cinema, moderated by CNN-News18 film critic Rajeev Masand.  

The conversation began on a light note when Brad Pitt said that he wouldn’t make it in Bollywood as he could not dance. Shah Rukh Khan, in his classic witty style, replied saying that they could make anyone dance. “I just spread my arms and do nothing, that's a step,” he said cheekily.

The actors exchanged notes about their experiences in their respective industries. When Khan said that he couldn’t sing and someone had to do it “behind him”, Pitt admitted that he couldn’t feign playing instruments. 

Pitt said that the filmmakers of Tree of Life had to get someone whose hands looked like Pitt’s to play the piano. “…And all I did for the camera was make expressions like I am playing it," he said.

Moving on to discussing Netflix as a platform for filmmakers, Pitt said that its “beauty” lay in the fact that it was providing more opportunities to “interesting” filmmakers to put their ideas on film, in turn leading to greater variety for viewers. Khan agreed with Pitt, saying that studios are still wary of experimenting with offbeat themes.

Khan said that in India there’s no dearth of talent, which a web platform like Netflix could help showcase. “Every household has a singer, but I think every household also has a filmmaker,” he said. With a global platform like Netflix, “you don't just have an Indian audience but a world audience,” he added.

Pitt said he believes assessing a film’s success by how well it does on the opening weekend is a flawed model.  Saying that he had seen good films which were considered “failures” . However t platforms such as Netflix were challenging this practice and perception, Pitt said. 

While Pitt is 53 and Khan 51, both started their careers around the same time – 1991 and 1992 respectively. Both of them also have their own productions houses – Khan owns Red Chillies Entertainment and Plan B belongs to Pitt.

The actors also talked about production. Khan said that if one lasts in the film industry as long as Pitt, production “is the natural way to go”. He explained that given your limitations of telling stories as an actor, it is natural to be a producer and have partners who can “fulfil that vision”.

Pitt agreed, saying that while it was a “gamble” between being an actor or a producer, he had been able to do more as a production company than as an individual.

Both actors agreed that their decision to pick projects depended on who was telling the story and the script. However, Khan said one of the challenges was exploring deeper layers of a character in Bollywood, given that he often has to break into a song and dance “every 20 minutes”.

At the end of the 45-minute discussion, the actors posed for pictures together.

Pitt’s War Machine is based on Michael Hastings' book, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. The book is about General Stanley A McChrystal, who commanded the American and international troops in Afghanistan. McChrystal was forced to resign however, after he mocked former US Vice President Joe Biden and other officials of the Obama government in Hastings' 2010 story for Rolling Stone.

In War Machine however, Pitt plays the fictitious General Glenn McMahon.

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