ABU DHABI // From a kung fu-kicking assassin in Kill Bill to an 18th-century young beauty in Dangerous Liaisons, Uma Thurman's career has spanned a huge spectrum of roles but one genre eludes her.
At the Abu Dhabi Film Festival yesterday the Hollywood actress said: "I would love to do a Bollywood movie."
Thurman, 40, whose credits also include Pulp Fiction and Gattaca, walked the red carpet at the event's gala closing ceremony last night after taking questions from the public at the Abu Dhabi Theatre on the Breakwater.
Her father was the first westerner to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk, she spent some of her childhood in India and is on the lookout for a project that will allow her a chance to break into Bollywood.
She said yesterday: "When I see a script of one that makes sense for me to be in, it would be a thrill. When I go to India … it feels like a home to me. Those were formative years in my life and I feel very blessed."
Thurman said she had met the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, "many times" and called him "the most beautiful man I've ever met - very peaceful and very loving".
"When I've seen him lately he seems to be more sad with the unrest and the failure to find a peaceful negotiation with China [over Tibet]. There's been so much hope … that there should be a solution in which China could allow some dignity to the Tibetan people."
Thurman, who was in the UAE for the first time, also spoke of the growing importance of cross-cultural understanding in today's world, which she said was helped by events such as the Abu Dhabi festival.
"We get a cultural exchange through festivals, which are great for independent cinema and international cinema," she said. "From the Middle East we haven't had a strong influx of film exchange yet, but I think it's important so I wanted to come. [The Abu Dhabi festival] seems to be growing in importance as a film festival in the region."
Thurman, the star of more than 40 films, has worked with many big-name directors, including Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, John Boorman and Woody Allen.
However, she is best known for her collaborations with Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction and the Kill Bill series, with a third volume of the latter scheduled for release in 2014.
When asked which director knows her best, she replied: "Probably Quentin, because we have spent hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours together. We argue a lot. Every director is different. Quentin loves to talk and he gets excited and he changes his mind, whereas Woody Allen makes his mind up and just shoots. They are all unique."
Thurman's recent film work includes Ceremony, a low-budget comedy that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and Bel Ami, in which she features as the older wife of a character played by the Twilight star Robert Pattinson.
The actress, who is just under six feet tall and suffers from dyslexia, said her career in films has helped to build her self-confidence.
"I was a tall gangly girl who took some acting lessons and did some modelling aged 16 years old – I wanted to be like Meryl Streep."
Thurman, who has two children, said she would not wish for her 12-year-old daughter, whom she had with her former husband Ethan Hawke, to follow in her footsteps.
"I hope she doesn't. It's a difficult life. But she's an incredibly artistic and talented girl, who wants to be a writer. She's far too bright to waste her life in cinema and to waste her life in modelling," she joked.