11th Aug 2010
Gone are the days of standing in long queues to audition for a role in Bollywood. A lot of film directors, producers, television production companies and even reality shows are hiring new talents through online talent portals or even networking websites like Facebook.
Ashutosh Gowariker recently created a new website and a profile on Facebook to select a fresh face for his upcoming film Buddha. Balaji Telefilms has already been hiring new crew members and actors through the portal www.hoonur.com. Even Mahesh Bhatt has approached the talent portal Desitara.com to pick a new face for an unnamed film project.
Getting the big break for young writers, cinematographers, technicians, actors or even voiceover artistes has never been easier, as many production houses are picking fresh talent from the portfolios submitted to these talent management websites.
So, what is making online auditions so appealing? “It offers a lot of flexibility to the casting directors as well as the young talent,” says Mansoor Ahamed, CEO at Desitara.com. They are currently working on a new film Don’t Worry Be Happy with actor Vinay Pathak, where one of the Desitara.com users named Dhwani has been selected to play the lead actress. Recently they also released three regional films — Police Quarters (in Kannada and Tamil) and Noor Janmaku — with actors selected from the talent portal.
“The web is open to anyone from any part of the world. It gives participants including foreigners, who can’t come to Mumbai or Delhi for auditions, a chance to enter the industry,” he adds.
Stating the need for fresh talent in films, director Madhur Bhandarkar says, “As a filmmaker, I am constantly looking for talent to do justice to the character that I have envisaged, which is why I often like to experiment with fresh faces. These online portals have created a platform, which will give filmmakers like us access to great talent from across India and abroad.”
Madhur, who is currently scouting for new talents for an upcoming film project through www.abmeribari.com says, that with these portals a great talent doesn’t need a godfather anymore to make it big in the Indian film industry. “Talented youth even from small towns and villages can apply for roles and get opportunities without having to come to Mumbai and spending weeks, months and sometimes years trying to get their talent recognised.”
But aren’t reality shows doing a similar job — giving talents from small towns and villages chance to showcase their talent? Madhur feels otherwise. “Reality channels are definitely a platform where you can reach a certain level. But tell me how many people can even reach the reality show level? Sonu Nigam and many others from the industry got their break from reality shows but actually becoming successful even after that break is very rare,” he says.
While most of them are helping local talent to get a break, some like Desitara.com also focuses on bringing international talent home. They recently held an international contest Ticket to Bollywood, through which they have selected three international actors —from Portugal, France and Russia. “There are a lot of talented individuals interested in Bollywood nationally and internationally. But they don’t get the chance. But these online auditions have it a possibility for them,” says Mansoor.
Agrees Preet Bedi of AMB Media Pvt. Ltd, promoter of Abmeribari.com. “Talented individuals in small cities like Saharanpur, who can’t come to Mumbai for auditions, still have a chance through these online portals. All they need to do is upload their pictures and videos on the portal. And if they have the talent they will definitely get an opportunity,” he says.