Talent sourcing in Films and TV

by P Sinha

 Posted on 30-Sep-2015 02:51 AM

Most of us, at some point have dreamt of a Bollywood star’s life. But what does it take to get there and seemingly have it all?

Most debutants have close connections in the Industry. For example, Arjun Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha belong to families in the Film business. Even within the industry, there are camps like Shahrukh Khan camp and Salman Khan camp. So what’s the reality like for people unconnected to the industry?

There are casting agencies - most of them will be found in Andheri, a Mumbai suburb. In particular the Lokhandwala section of Andheri has become the place for new and struggling actors. Unlike in the West, where auditioning is a streamlined process, in Mumbai actors show up at the casting agencies frequently, in the hope of bagging a new assignment. Auditions go on for hours and new actors try to get into multiple auditions in a day.

The first contact in the Industry a new hopeful generally meets are the “coordinators”, who are really middlemen and work on commissions. There are many unscrupulous coordinators who could be involved in trafficking and other illegal activities, so one needs to be careful. It is an open secret that some film makers demand sexual favours in return for giving a break in films or television soaps. However, there are enough filmmakers who search and give breaks to rank newcomers. Anurag Kashyap is the biggest name who makes movies sans "Stars". His biggest hits are the ones that had great actors, not necessarily big stars.

People who have made a name for themselves elsewhere generally have an edge in the process. Typically, actors from Theater have proved to be strong actors - Manohar Singh, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Manav Kaul, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan all have theater background. They are all excellent actors.

Even if one gets a break, things are not exactly roses in the beginning.  Stars have vanity vans but the rest use the regular make up rooms which are anything but fancy. To say the truth, they are pretty run down with worn out carpets and stained walls. Film Industry has a strong hierarchy and quality of day to day interaction is dependent on where one falls in the hierarchy.

However, for those who successfully navigate the initial rough phase to emerge successful, there is fame and possibly stardom on the other end. For some reason, Film and TV industry still haven’t utilized technology to democratize the process of finding talent. I believe at some point, Indian audience will force the makers to look beyond the sons/ daughters/ nephews of people connected to the industry and seek real talent out there who are currently living a life of anonymity.

Phot source - Flicker

TAGS : struggling actors debutants casting agents coordinators film makers television films

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