I thought today I should take a look at the Brit-Asian Film Industry. Now this may be interesting for the cinema lovers, the aspiring filmmakers and actors and also the public.
To be fair, the BAFI (Brit-Asian Film Industry) is really small. In fact, the only person that probably comes to mind is Gurinder Chadha and no offence to the lady, she isn’t churning out the films we would love to watch with popcorn in our hands. Her two recent duds being ‘Bride and Prejudice’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ is proof enough that she has lost touch with what the British-Asian public wants and needs.
However, since Ms Chadha is a pioneer of sorts, her ‘Bend it like Beckham’ deserves the accolades and it was truly a remarkable film. I loved it and I still would watch it today. The fact is that it is a memorable film. The main reason was because it felt British and had none of the wannabe Bollywood crap. There was an original story in the soul of the movie. From ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ to a ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’ – was Ms Chadha hinting for retirement after her last movie? I don’t really want to hit out at Ms Chadha but it’s not like she has been willing to produce other Brit-Asian movies, directed by what could be revolutionary Brit-Asian filmmakers.
The BAFI is running dry, in fact it needs some good storys. Even Pusher, which was written, directed and acted by Assad Raja, has obviously not hit the chord with the market despite the presence of Mahima Chaudhary. In fact, I’m positive some of you are wondering whether this film actually exists. Unfortunately, that did not have the right marketing, the star power of Mahima never clicked and thirdly, the story didn’t seem engaging.
It must be accepted that the BAFI at the moment can only churn out Indie movies, and how can these independent movies finally hit the right chord? I think it’s fairly simple to say that the BAFI can easily mix Bollywood with Hollywood in an innovative way. It can create engaging stories and still have the songs as a progressive form of enhancing the story.
The fact is that even British producers are looking at venturing into Bollywood, so why the hell are the Brit-Asians just twiddling their thumbs? Not only that, these producers are seriously deluded not to realise there is a whole load of Brit-Asian kids who want to revolutionise British Cinema.
In fact, one guy I will praise, Ricki Naqvi, who is a very good friend of mine. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the right project for him but he is doing really well in the industry. I think he has done a few independent movies and is working on a few TV serials. A very talented person, but I wonder will he ever get the true script that mixes in the values of British Cinema and Bollywood? I can point the blame at myself, maybe I should do a lot more in launching myself in the industry. The fact remains that there is a great talented bunch out there that needs to be showcased to the world. Ricki is not the only one that needs the recognition and the right projects, there must be hundreds who are dreaming big.
In fact, I shall blame the asian channels too. What are Zee TV and Star TV doing to help the talent in Britain. Have they commissioned anything that could support the young talents who want to make a difference? Are they supporting the excellent scriptwriters out there? The-out-of-the-box directors? The extremely talented actors? Instead, we have to live with the silly ‘saas-bahu’ serials. Please, give us some noteworthy shows. Use the talents that live in this country and help the art.
In the big dreams are the upcoming talent doing much in launching themselves? Most of them start with modeling and then end up in acting. However, modeling cannot make you a great actor or filmmaker. You need to stick to your passions. Everyone thinks that they can become a John Abraham or a Priyanka Chopra. How about become a Shah Rukh Khan or a Aamir Khan, who started as actors and then they were demanded to take a humble step in modeling on the side. The young talent here need to realise that. However, I am not saying that it is bad to go from modeling to acting. Either way, if it makes you feel better for yourself then go ahead. All youngsters need to do is believe that they can make movies instead of walking the ramp.
There needs to be a revolution in the BAFI. There needs to be a daring few that want to take a leap of faith. Who says that there isn’t a Nolan, Scorsese, Fincher or even a Yash Chopra that is living amongst the aspiring British-Asian actors, directors and filmmakers. A few need to stand up, announce to the world that they want to create something unique. It is all about resistance. You will have a few that want to bring you down but so what?! Let them try, you must walk ahead.
I am even going to say, I see a whole load of beautiful asian girls in the UK. Who I am sure dream big to become the next Kareena Kapoor or Megan Fox but are they being seen as deluded. Are there any true and honest directors and producers who are willing to spend time on training these young girls? Is the casting couch enough to scare the girls away from the scene? Or is it the fact that their families are suffocating their dreams by injecting their own failed ambitions or even successful ambitions?
There has also been a rise in academies for acting but they are all targeting Bollywood and not British Cinema. First of all, no one has the right linguistics for Hindi Films. Seriously, look at Upen Patel. Where is he today? Please don’t use Katrina Kaif as an example to who has made it big in Bollywood from here! She has hardly been appreciated for her acting. These acting academies need to step up their mark and look at the British land for films. Don’t delude the talented youngsters in thinking they can make it in Bollywood! These kids will not stand a chance over there. Inspire them to work in this country and help the Brit-Asian Film Industry.
The problem lies with money. People want to make a quick buck from the industry. You need to work hard but with the right heart. At the end of the day, it may be a business but at the heart of it, it’s all about creativity. You need to realise that if you hold creativity hand in hand with business – of course great cinema can be made. Again like I said, we need to take a leap of faith!
All it will take is a production house to rise to the challenge and change the market. I can assure you it shall not be from Gurinder Chadha no more. It will be someone new who has a vision for the progression of cinema. It will be a production house that will look at utilising new and used talent. The fact remains that this is Britain and it is no Bollywood. A script is everything here in this country. A script is what will define a good movie. The industry needs actors who are in the love of acting not the fame. We need directors who want to give their vision of the world to the public. We need the most important people, the producers to accept those scripts and vision and make the Brit-Asian Film Industry, an industry that should be something to be proud of. We want our parents to turn around and say “I’m proud of my child who is in films”.
Frankly, I believe that many filmmakers out there are only thinking of money but not about the art of cinema. Remember, films are an art, it is a collective art piece. It should be about innovating storytelling more than anything and also with the expectation to make money. The more money that is made, the more films can be invested into. I am sure that those who truly want a cinematic revolution will end up contacting me somehow after reading this. I can happily give you my e-mail address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
A saying that I simply believe in is ‘Inspire to aspire’.
Take care and lots of love,
Rahul N Singh