British filmmakers to scout for actors in India

April 12th, 2010 - 1:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Slumdog Millionaire By Radhika Bhirani
New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) After “Slumdog Millionaire” the makers of another British film are headed to India to look for new South Asian faces for their venture and possibly “find the next star”.

Yugesh Walia, the producer of the yet-to-be-titled film, told IANS the reason for exploring casting possibilities in India is “because of the lack of enough choice in Indian and Pakistani actors in Britain.” He said it would be “more of an exploratory casting trip with an intention to see if we can cast for three characters - Kamal the male lead, Nazia the female lead and Amir, the antagonist.”

The movie centres on the Indian and Pakistani communities in Britain. It is about a man who restores the honour of families by returning their runaway women. The man falls in love with one of the women only to discover that she belongs to a gangster.

Yugesh and his brother Sunandan Walia of Endboard Productions are producing and directing the film. It was initially titled “The Bounty Hunter”, but the producers are now planning to change it as an American film of the same name, starring Jenifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, has been released.

The qualities that the producers are seeking in their actors are “a commanding screen presence along with an extraordinary acting ability to interpret these powerful roles”.

Auditions for the movie will take place in New Delhi starting April 19 and in Mumbai a few days later. The producers are open to casting fresh faces as well as roping in popular faces.

“We are looking for anybody who can convincingly play these roles. These can include actors who may have a few films to their credit and show a lot of potential. Actors from theatre perhaps. But we are interested in fresh faces also. We would love to be pleasantly surprised. It would be exciting to find the next star,” Walia told IANS over e-mail from Birmingham.

Thanks to Lovleen Tandon’s casting, Frieda Pinto, a small-time model, became an overnight star after the success of Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire”.

Last year Walia was dogged with queries about having roped in Indian actress Urvashi Sharma for the project. But he denied the reports.

Asked if he is looking forward to casting her, he said: “No. But of course she is at liberty to respond to our casting call.”

Though most of their documentaries have been shot in India, Walia says this project will be shot entirely in Britain as the story is based there. However, he says it could become an Indo-British co-production if an Indian investor wants to join it.

The Walia brothers are also in the process of adapting “Poona Company”, an autobiographical story by Britain-based novelist and scriptwriter Farrukh Dhondy, and “Cold Blood”, a thriller set in Antarctica in the near future.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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