Indian filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, was inspired to make his movie Bombay Velvet, after reading L.A. Quartet, a sequence of four crime fiction novels by James Ellroy, set in 1940-50s Los Angeles. Bombay Velvet was influenced by Hollywood classics and drew inspiration from movies such as Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. The latter is also loosely based on L.A. Quartet. Kashyap’s movie was influenced by Mumbai Fables, a semi-fictional study of 1960s Bombay (now Mumbai) by Gyan Prakash, a historian and professor at Princeton University. He is also the movie’s co-writer. Kashyap had to take a flight from Mumbai to Los Angeles to locate places where Ellroy lived while writing the book and placed mentioned in it. “I soon learnt a lot of the book is based on true stories, while a part is fiction,” says Kashyap. The filmmaker then stopped at New York to meet Gyan Prakash. “I told him about L.A. and Ellroy and asked him if Bombay too had a history.” Prakash acknowledged Bombay having a similar history and mentioned old tabloids, Blitz and Current, stating Bombay and Los Angeles were indeed like twin cities.
Mumbai’s tinsel town Bollywood has been largely influenced by multi-billion dollar-worth American film industry of Hollywood based in Los Angeles. While Bollywood belts out around 1000 movies annually catering to almost 3 billion viewers, Hollywood releases at least 500 productions a year with a similar viewership, making both the highest film producing industries of the world. There are countless number of Indian actors who had to take a flight from Mumbai to Los Angeles to act in Hollywood movies. The two cities seem to be sharing actors since long. Indian actors Irrfan Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Om Puri, Aishwarya Rai, Freida Pinto and others have often been signed to appear in Hollywood blockbusters. Similarly, many Hollywood stars such as Barbara Mori and Sylvester Stallone have acted in Indian movies. It is often believed many movies made at the Mumbai studios are inspired by Hollywood movies. Aamir Khan acted blockbuster Ghajini (2008) was a kind of reproduction of Hollywood movie Memento (2000) by Christopher Nolan. Even Salman Khan’s Partner (2007) was a remake of Will Smith’s Hitch (2005).
Sister city initiative between Mumbai and Los Angeles helps in exchange of culture. Los Angeles promotes Indian culture with various programs throughout the year including annual Diwali Gala Dinner and other fundraiser events. Last year, Los Angeles honored Bollywood actor Anupam Kher with a ‘Proclamation’ at the Los Angeles City Hall. Kher thus had to take a flight from Mumbai to Los Angeles to participate in this grand event.