Once, Bollywood’s filmmakers’ search for new faces would end on a star or producer’s son or daughter. Now, filmmakers are talent scouting, outside of the frat, in the most unusual places.
Ashutosh Gowariker, Madhur Bhandarkar, Mahesh Bhatt and Kunal Kohli, for instance, are looking to cast newcomers on websites and networking portals.
Gowariker is looking for an actor to play Buddha on the website buddha-movie.com while Bhatt is looking for a leading lady and two leading men for his brave new film on Twitter.
“I am going through the hundreds of audition tapes that have come in. We are getting closer to our Buddha,” says Gowariker, who received 3,700 registrations and over 6,000 photos and videos in a month after announcing his project. Bhatt has already signed a former Delhi University student, Imran Zaidi, to play slain JNU leader Chandrashekhar in his upcoming film which rolls this October.
The National Award winning filmmaker who launched Sushmita Sen in Dastak prefers ewcomers because they don’t carry a larger than life image.
“And these new-age debutantes are not struggle weary but instead become a part of the A-list with their very first film in which they are launched by the country’s leading filmmakers,” adds Bhatt.
From Zarine Khan who debuted opposite Salman Khan in Veer to Vir Das who began his movie career with a big budget multi-star cast film, a crop of outsiders have arrived without godfathers.
“Adi and Parmeet could have chosen anyone to play Chandu in Badmaash Company (also toplining Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Meiyang Chang) but I guess I was chosen because they wanted a fresh perspective on comedy. The film has put me on the radar and I have signed two films since,” gushes Das.
It’s not easy
According Aanaahad Sharma, who debuted in the kick-boxing film Lahore, making a high-profile Bollywood debut is not easy. The actor trained in martial arts for three years before starting to shoot for his debut film. “It’s the best time for newcomers to enter Bollywood because there’s so much variety in the movies that are being made now. People are not averse to try new artistes,” Sharma says.
The young actor who quit college in Delhi to chase his dreams in Bollywood, has already signed on an international martial arts project for which he is being mentored by Chinese superstar Jet Li. Kunal Kohli has tweeted about his search for a new leading lady to star opposite Saif Ali Khan in his next project after Hum Tum. It’s a romantic comedy.
Karan Johar also wants to launch a new face under his banner Dharma Productions this year, though he’s not known to direct new actors. Meanwhile Yashraj Films will launch newcomer Ranveer Singh, a Delhi-based artiste opposite Anushka Sharma in a film which will release later this year.