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B'wood greets its grooming factories

Modelling agencies are fast becoming the training schools for aspiring actors.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 20:01 IST
Udita Jhunjhunwala and Kabeer Sharma/ HT Style
Udita Jhunjhunwala and Kabeer Sharma/ HT Style

The roadfrom the runway to the studios of Bollywood is by no means a path less trodden. But now there is something organised about it. Take 21-year-old Urvashi Sharma, who has just landed an eight-film contract with Tips Films through her agency, Elite.

After just two years as a model, the Delhi girl’s aspirations are coming true. Her five-year contract includes lead roles in eight films and music videos. “All my film work will be handled by Tips, including negotiations with outside banners, while Elite will handle my advertising work,” says Urvashi, who has appeared in campaigns for Garnier, Globus, KitKat, TBZ and Ponds.

Elite has also announced a wing dedicated to getting film roles for its models. CEO Sushma Purie says the agency is in talks to launch four other models in Bollywood. “Urvashi will carry on as our model for the contractual period. After she delivers one hit or even does one film, obviously her rates will spiral,” says Purie, explaining the plan for getting into celebrity management.

Model Urvashi Sharma has landed an eight-film contract with Tips Films through her agency, Elite.

While Elite is branching out into film deals, another modelling agency, Matrix, which represents Bipasha Basu, John Abraham, Yana Gupta, Riteish Deshmukh and Rahul Khanna, is focusing on its core competence area. Director Reshma Shetty says, “Star secretaries do a much better job of film negotiations and we prefer to work closely with them. However, we do advise our clients on film projects.” Katrina Kaif, a model with Matrix before becoming an actress, now has a secretary to manage her films, but Matrix remains involved in an advisory capacity.

Things are different, however, with another Matrix model, Yana Gupta. “We do work with our models if they are approached for items songs, appearances or shows. When Yana was offered the Babuji song, we advised her to do it. Yes, there is a different fee structure for the different assignments we handle, but we would not handle a full film, just item songs,” says Shetty.

But with Elite launching Urvashi in films, modelling agencies might become the new training and grooming ground for Bollywood actresses. After all, they have already established the model on the public stage. And the need for fresh faces in showbiz has never been greater.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 20:01 IST