Budding actors flock to UK’s first Bollywood acting school

April 10th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 10 (AN): Call it a Bollywood effect - thirteen young British Asians have given up their well-paid careers in law and finance to study at Britain’s first Bollywood acting school opened by veteran actor Anupam Kher last year.

The school has been dubbed as an ‘all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza’.

“Bollywood has a magic they can’t resist,” the Telegraph quoted Kher, course director and veteran actor of 300 Hindi films.

“We now get engineers and doctors auditioning. The view of these young people seems to be ‘we have done what our parents wanted us to do. Now it is our turn,’” he added.

Basit Kirmani, who holds law degree from Cambridge, has ditched his 25,000 pounds a year position to get admission in a three-month course at the Media Institute in Ealing.

“Bollywood is part of who I am,” said Kirmani.

“I was 11 when I saw my first Bollywood film, and I’ve never forgotten it. At Cambridge I did a bit of performing in an Asian cultural talent show, but most people will be surprised by my decision.

“My parents, who are from Pakistan, have reservations, but accept that I worked very hard at university,” he added.

Waheeda Shah, 25, from Greenford, Essex has also given up a promising job with British Telecom to study in the acting school.

“I was raised on a diet of Bollywood movies and all I wanted was to be a film star but I was encouraged by my family to follow the conventional education and career path, so I went to Brunel university and then joined the BT graduate scheme,” she said.

“But I never gave up on my dream, and I always kept a calendar of Indian stars on my desk,” she added.

Adam Fahey, director of media at Ealing College says, “What is unique about this course is that it gives British Asians a chance to break into something that our home-grown industry can’t offer them.”

However, Fahey also knows that rejection is a part of the course.

“The casting process in India can be quite brutal. They actually say things like ‘You are too fat. You should try South Indian cinema where they like them rounder.’ Bollywood is based on looks and type,” he said.

“We like to pretend here in Britain that actors are castable in anything, but in Mumbai they don’t bother with the pretence,” he added. (ANI)

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