Anupam Kher says there is a dearth of actors in Bollywood and that is why he is making his second directorial venture with newcomer Ruslaan Mumtaz, who recently made his debut in the teenybopper romance Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar.
"The industry needs at least three dozen new actors. There are just a handful of stars now ruling Bollywood. Most filmmakers cannot afford them. We sincerely need to cultivate new talent," Anupam told IANS.
Ruslaan is an ex-student of Anupam's acting school Actor Prepares.<b1>
"Whether it's Ruslaan or Sammir Dattani or even my own son Sikandar, these boys have the talent and the will to excel. That's where our acting school comes in. We're trying to create a talent bank for Bollywood. And if I don't use my own students, why would other directors do the same?" he asked.
"Ruslaan is an ex-student from my acting school and my proudest product so far. For my second attempt at direction I needed a face that was sensitive and vulnerable," added Anupam.
Anupam toyed with the idea of casting Ruslaan after the young actor's appearance in Mera Pehle Pehla Pyar got him encouraging reports.
"But the clincher for me was the boy's second film Tere Sang which Satish Kaushik is directing for our production company. Ruslaan's confidence level, his dancing and emoting were just right for the character I have in mind."
Anupam's untitled directorial venture is a romantic film and goes on the floors in January or February.
"All I can say right now is that it's going to be a young film about young aspirations. And it will touch on contemporary issues," he said.
His first directorial venture was a family drama titled Om Jai Jagdish. He worked with heavyweights like Waheeda Rehman, Anil Kapoor and Urmila Matondkar in the film, which also had Abhishek Bachchan, Fardeen Khan and Mahima Chaudhary.