TAMPA — From Saturday Night Fever to Grease to Pulp Fiction, John Travolta has danced in more than his share of iconic moments in American cinema.
So, it's no surprise he's a fan of Bollywood's knack for filling the screen with splashy, high-stepping show tunes.
Take, for example, Bollywood's 2013 update of Romeo and Juliet, Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, often shorthanded as Ram-Leela.
"The first musical number, it was, wow, that was amazing," Travolta told a downtown Tampa hotel ballroom crowded with international media Saturday. "I find Indian films very original in energy and life."
And the American cinema could learn something from Bollywood, he said.
"Every time I've had an opportunity to sing or dance in a movie, it's been glorious … I think we're simpatico," said Travolta, who received a career achievement award at the 15th annual International Indian Film Academy awards show at Raymond James Stadium.
"I've always felt that acting with song and dance (is) … a more complete communication," he said. For him, the collaboration between Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra and Miami rapper Pitbull on the video for Exotic was the "perfect marriage."
"I would love for the Bollywood influence to actually infiltrate and give Hollywood more confidence in musicals and dance," Travolta said. "Musicals in Hollywood are sporadic."
Travolta said he's been offered and is considering a script for a Bollywood movie, Paani, director Shekhar Kapur's years-in-the-making film about a 2050 dystopia where corporations control the source of water.
"He's asked me to be part of it. I would like to be part of it," Travolta said. Asked if he would dance in it, he said, "I don't know. The script does not have (dancing) in it, although (Kapur) said, 'Should we put in a musical number?' If we're being truly Bollywood, maybe we should."
IIFA's track record of spotlighting social reform movements goes back to 2007. That's the year it teamed up with an environmental advocacy group to promote awareness of climate change. To call attention to the issue, IIFA gave up the traditional red carpet outside its events, going green instead.
Since then, the green carpet has been a key part of IIFA's identity. This year, organizers brought in Yale professor Rajendra K. Pachauri, who chairs the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
On Thursday, Pachauri said he buttonholed Gov. Rick Scott at an IIFA event, telling him "Florida is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change."
IIFA also added a new cause — the education of girls — and featured Girl Rising, a film from Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins about nine girls who pursue schooling in developing countries.