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Bollywood needs better movie scripts, says major star

Indian actor Anil Kapoor in Toronto on June 22, 2011: He's here for the International Indian Film Academy awards.

Chris Young/CP

Bollywood breakout star Anil Kapoor says he'd like to see better Indian film scripts.

The Slumdog Millionaire actor is in Toronto as part of the International Indian Film Academy celebrations, meant to promote South Asian entertainment.

He says the Indian film industry has grown rapidly in recent years with bigger audiences and bigger revenues.

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But he says he'd like to see more substance in the stories those movies tell.

Kapoor says he's embraced broad fame since being catapulted into the Hollywood spotlight in the Oscar-winning blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire.

His upcoming projects include the next instalment in the Mission Impossible franchise with Tom Cruise and a thriller called Cities with Clive Owen.

"Indian film industry is changing rapidly," said Kapoor, who is also tied to two upcoming Hindi-language dramas.

"It is changing in terms of numbers, in terms of the bigness, in terms of the audience, in terms of revenue. I just wish it changes more where content is concerned."

When asked to explain what he was referring to, Kapoor was terse: "Scripts. Good scripts."

"It has to have a certain kind of message. There are a few films which are made like that but more films should be made like that."

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After the success of his 2008 rags-to-riches tale Slumdog Millionaire, Kapoor booked several high-profile Western roles, including a recurring part in the final season of TV's 24.

Still, Kapoor says he did not actively seek out a place in Hollywood.

" Mission Impossible was wonderful to work on," says the 51-year-old star, whose career spans 33 years.

"(But) I never really hope for anything, I just keep on working and when it happens ... I really never expect it. When you expect too much you get disappointed so I just move on."

Kapoor is among more than 200 South Asian filmmakers and stars in Toronto for the three-day International Indian Film Academy celebrations, which run through Saturday.

The carnival of South Asian song, dance, fashion and celebrity includes a film festival, business forum and a performance-laden awards show oft-described as the Indian Oscars.

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Kapoor says Toronto holds a special place in his heart because it is where Slumdog first took off with critics and audiences.

"Everything happened in Toronto," says Kapoor.

"I was supposed to come to Toronto for the Toronto (International) Film Festival when Slumdog Millionaire was supposed to be screened over here.... I tried to get the visa but I never took it so seriously so I was very casual about it. And suddenly the film won the audience choice award. And suddenly it became a world phenomenon. And I started going online and watching all the interviews, all the critics and they started talking about this film being nominated for the Oscars."

The film went on to collect eight Academy Awards.

Now, Kapoor says he views his career in global terms.

"Today the world is shrinking and I am available for anybody from any part of the world as an actor," he says.

"I am a global actor - an actor who is available for a Chinese film, a Japanese film, for a British film, for American film, for Indian film."

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