Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves in India to promote his music
By Afsana Ahmed
Mumbai, March 13, 1999: "My only understanding of India was through the Satyajit Ray films I watched in Film Festival after Film Festival. They are incredible. That is how I perceive India - real, warm and unaffected," says actor Keanu Reeves, known to millions of viewers as the man who saved the bus and Sandra Bullock in the film "Speed."
Reeves is in India for a five-day musical tour beginning with the Lux Zee Cine Awards ceremony on Sunday. The actor turned musician is the bassist for a three-member band called Dogstar. His fellow performers are guitarist and vocalist Bret Domrose and drummer Rob Mailhouse.
In an exclusive interview with 'The Asian Age", the reticent Reeves says that his career as a Hollywood hunk has affected his image as a musician. Because music critics fail to take him seriously in his new avatar, Dogstar took some time to make it's presence felt. But now the band is taken seriously and like all successful music groups, it as it's share of panties thrown on-stage.
'It's sad that the West at times thinks no end of itself," says Reeves reflectively. "Many people have labeled by venture in the music field as an extension of my professional profits. They gave it a business angle. I am happy to learn that in a place like India, film stars have been given a platform to display other talents too.'
Considering the phenomenal success of 'Speed' the world was naturally disappointed not to find Keanu Reeves as the male lead in 'Speed 2: Cruise Control". Was that why he turned to music? "I would prefer not to discuss my films now," he says. "But I will say that just prior to 'Speed 2', I had completed a heavy action film and I didn't have it in me. Moreover I was not satisfied with the script."
Reeves started acting at the age of 16, and began playing bass when he was 21. "But it was only during the past seven years that I truly focused on my musical competence," he says. After successful films like 'Speed', 'Little Buddha' and 'Devil's Advocate', Reeves became a highly sought after actor in Hollywood.
Though he upset at the reaction of critics to his career switch, he is amused by the reaction of his Hollywood fans who buy his music because of his films. So how does he balance his appetite for acting and music? "Simply by starving for both," he says. "When I'm hungry I eat with vigor till I'm content. That goes for everything." On his short tour, Reeves wants to do as many things as he possibly can, including visits to temples and a village he has heard lots about. And, surprise, surprise, he wants to pick up tapes of Hindi film music. "We definitely want to bond with Indian music, both classical and contemporary," smiles Reeves. Dogstar is primarily known for it's famous bass player, something that does bother the rest of the band a little. "On the marketing side it has been difficult," says Bret Domrose. "It also depended on the countries in which we performed. I guess that is the upside-down side of every successful step. Otherwise, he is a nice talented guy which is definitely an advantage for us."
This folk-punk band was formed four years ago, specialising in both rock and simple romantic tunes. So far it's achievements have been 'Quattro Formaggi' a CD-ROM, and 'Our Little Visionary'.