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Indian American in list of Hollywood's rising leaders

Jai Khanna is among the 35 most talented executives in the Hollywood film industry, says Hollywood Reporter.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2005 15:24 IST

Indian American Jai Khanna is among the 35 most talented executives in the Hollywood film industry, says the authoritative industry journal Hollywood Reporter in its latest issue.

The leading magazine for tinseltown includes the 35-year-old manager with Brillstein-Grey Entertainment amongst the top agents and managers in its list of Hollywood executives.

"...It takes a rare combination of talent, skill, drive and a willingness to work untold hours to rise to the top in the entertainment industry," the magazine says, "but members of The Hollywood Reporter's Next Generation Class of 2005 have exhibited precisely those qualities."

A roundup of 35 of the most talented executives in the fields of film, television, representation, legal and new media aged 35 and under, this 12th annual edition was assembled by a committee of Hollywood Reporter editors and reporters after a "great deal" of research.

Calling them some of the leaders of tomorrow, Hollywood Reporter notes that Khanna left a promising future in sports to enter the Hollywood industry.

Born Dec 21, 1970, Khanna received a scholarship to play baseball through his undergrad years at University of California, Davis. He was approached by scouts but was "burnt out" on the national pastime says the Reporter.

Despite his baseball acumen, Khanna shifted gears moving south from Northern California to the offices of Writers & Artists from where he moved to work with famous film producer Peter Safran for four years then ended up as a manager at Brillstein-Grey Entertainment.

At that firm for the last seven years, Khanna's client list includes writer Sabrina Dhawan and actors Gary Dourdan, Josh Holloway, Bree Turner, Vanessa Minnillo and Kevin Nealon. He is also said to have worked on Jennifer Aniston.

"It's not about the money," Khanna says. "As an assistant, it's purely about the experience and learning how the system works. It's hearing conversations, hearing who's who, being exposed to contracts, actors. That allows you to stay invested," Khanna told the Reporter.

He credits his time with Safran for his learning experience.

"I liked working for him, and he encouraged me to go do certain things. I got a sense of what things were about," Khanna is quoted saying about Safran.

Being in management now, Khanna says, he gets to make choices about what he wants to do.

"All I think I wanted were options. If I choose to use them or not is not important, but I always liked the fact that if I wanted, I could work with a kid, a comic, actors, writers, directors."