Bollywood’s first online audition awards to launch on January 6; winners to get Rs 11 lakhs and acting contract.
Contestants will have to upload two-three minute videos of their audition on Bombaycasting.com, which calls itself the country’s first online acting portal. Noted film writers and actors will offer tips on how to go about the exercise on the site. Aspirants can also act out their own scripts. The results of the audition, which ends on January 21, will be announced in April.
A jury of three directors — Tigmanshu Dhulia (who’s made Paan Singh Tomar and other films), Anand L Rai (Tanu Weds Manu and its sequel) and Hansal Mehta (Shahid) — will pick the winners.
The first and second runners up will get cash of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively. All winners will get 100 days of work on various projects, such as movies, documentaries and advertisements.
This could mark a new avenue for talent discovery, similar to the manner in which TV contests have unearthed singers in India and abroad. Those without an acting pedigree generally start out in theatre in centres such as Delhi and then move to Mumbai.
“Not only the three winners but those found talented will also be considered for future projects,” said Rai, reputed for films that aren’t set in India’s big cities. “It is a great opportunity for those from small towns who do not have the wherewithal to come to Mumbai or the expertise to try their luck in acting. I would not say that I will give something to small towns. In fact, they will give me talent.”
National award-winning Mehta described the initiative as an ambitious one.
“My entire business is based on talent,” he said. “I want to look out, widen my net so that I can spot the best talent from across the country. My movies are primarily products of my casting choices.”
The opportunity won’t be limited to Indians, said producer Sunil Bohra, who’s behind Bombaycasting.com.
“Since it is an online audition, entries will be invited from across the world,” he said. “There is tremendous talent in our country but owing to several reasons, chiefly due to lack of finance and resources, they never make it to the industry. There will be fees charged for this audition. We will also provide a 24×7 helpline to address any kind of query on how to audition.”
Bohra’s banner Bohra Bros has about 140 films to its credit, including national award-winning productions Chittagong and Shahid.
The country’s first online acting portal, as first reported by ET in April, has garnered support Bollywood personalities including actor Rishi Kapoor, directors Karan Johar,Rajkumar Hirani, Sujoy Ghosh, Bejoy Nambiar and producer Siddharth Roy Kapur.
The site also allows actors from outside Mumbai to register themselves, in case a film unit shooting in the area wants to hire them.
The portal, which already has a significant database of actors, also offers acting and grooming workshops and provides opportunities in movies as well as TV serials and documentaries.
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