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SUCCESSFUL INDIAN OF THE MONTH
Rooma Nanda is currently in the finance industry, working as a residential mortgage consultant. She has over 10 years work experience with various corporates, such as, IBM and Yellow Pages. Rooma has done her MBA from Sydney, and is passionate about learning on a constant basis.  This column is to highlight the achievements of certain individuals who could be a source of inspiration for others. Email 
When it comes to the most powerful tool of media, there is no denial that Films take the lead role. We all have grown up watching the big screen, getting fascinated by the 35mm wide faces of our favorite actors, imitating them in front of the mirrors. Being Indians, we have had a special privilege of being closely associated with this fascinating industry due to the ever popular extravaganzas of our Bollywood.

Perhaps we all feel a big chunk of our creative side missing in this adopted country where we have to go to an Indian store to find out what has been happening in Bollywood lately.

However it was a big joy for us Indians based in Australia when we heard that Bollywood has arrived in the world down under for their production projects.
We had the opportunity to meet the man behind this possibility and requested him for more information behind the scenes. Most of us in Sydney are now familiar with the name appeared in the very beginning of acknowledgement section of the most popular film of 2001, 'Dil Chahta Hai'. A special note of thanks was given at the top of acknowledgements to a name - Mr Anupam Sharma.

First Bollywood film shot in Australia was made possible due to the efforts of Mr Sharma. In the summer of 1998, when Feroz Khan, well known Indian film actor and director, came to Australia to shoot his son's debut film 'Prem Agan' he was looking for local casting and crewing. With Anupam's timely help and professional support, the film was shot well in time and the project was completed to the director's satisfaction. That was the beginning of Bollywood's interest in the world down under.

Anupam, originally belongs to Dehradun, came to Australia in 1990 and joined a Bachelor's in Films and Media. He then joined the University of NSW to do his Masters in Films and TV production and wrote a thesis on Indian Cinema. He specialized in acting and directing. Started working on local projects till he met Feroz Khan in 1998. Since then Anupam and his team have participated in around 85 projects for Bollywood in one way or another.

Anupam is not only involved in this industry for the commercial projects but is also keen on promoting Indian film industry in the world down under by educating the local people. His efforts have been extended to the Indian film industry as well to promote Australia for its breathtaking beauty and professional talent. Recently he organized an Australian delegation to attend the prestigious conference in Mumbai - 'Frames'- for which well known figures of Australian film industry traveled to India to meet the interested parties of Bollywood. He has also been organising a lot of lectures and seminars to educate Australians about the Indian film industry.

We asked him a few questions about his own interest in this particular industry and how he got to where he is now.

Q: Anupam, tell us where in India did you come from and how you got into this industry?
AS: I am from Dehradun originally and came to Sydney in early '90s to join my grand parents here. I always wanted to relate to this industry as a creative person, either as an actor or director. Wanted to approach the industry in a professional way. Instead of trying my luck in Mumbai and going through the hard way, I decided to come here in Sydney and finish my formal studies of the industry first. After completing my University degree, I was doing small projects and one of those was doing a voice over in Qantas flights to India. It came to my knowledge through my contacts in 1998 that Mr Feroz Khan was in town. I called randomly to Hilton Hotel and asked for him. Left a message on his voice mail introducing myself as a film consultant in Sydney. To my pleasant surprise, I received a call from him the next day and got an opportunity to introduce myself properly. Luckily he was looking for someone to help him at the time with some casting and crewing of his son's debut film. I took this work as my only opportunity to prove to the industry and did the job to his satisfaction. Since then there has been no turning point. Infact, I had to open my present company, Films and Casting Temple, in order to absorb the upcoming projects from then onwards.

Q: You have worked with both Indian and Australian film makers. How do you find the difference in the professionalism between the two or is there any?
AS: Australia is the most literate industry in the world in terms of films and India is the biggest film industry in the world. You can imagine their meeting grounds. When Indian films come here to do the work, they are forced to be professionals. There is lot of paper work involved. The more you put in planning, the better the results are.
New age film makers in India are becoming aware of the western professionalism therefore it is easier for them to go to any part of world today and do their projects. Nevertheless the pattern of a hindi movie is still sticking to its traditional values of songs and intervals.

Q: How is the present relationship of Indian and Australian film industry and what future do you depict for them?
AS: Today the State Government is encouraging foreign film makers to come to Australia. There have been some tax reliefs to a large extent. Future of Indo Australian film industry relations is looking very strong. Today, Australian crew is also going to India and that is helping to make the marriage even stronger. Currently there is a project happening in India for a Farhan Akhtar's war film, Lakshay, for which five Australian stunt experts are shooting in Laddakh.

Q: A common question which no media person can escape is whether you think that media has a responsibility towards the society? If yes, then why and how can that responsibility be portrayed to the society?
AS:
Media and Responsibility - these two terms can be defined and redefined as one of these, which is Responsibility, is a highly subjective term. Then we come to the question, whether media, specially films, is the only institution that is responsible towards society.

Responsibility is subjective as it is defined according to an individual's or a group's perception. However the aspect of level of media responsibility is much higher in India than in the West, where showing a particular, so called non-social scene, can create riots or death of hundreds of people.

Therefore, as a film maker, I have this responsibility towards my society to ask myself, 'should I show this particular scene just as a creative arrogance and then be responsible for thousands of deaths due to riots caused by that scene' Or "am I responsible for those riots which were instigated by the political hooligans as it happened in the case of films such as 'Fire' or 'Water'. In India its more a tricky and complex question compared to Western world.

At the end of the day, it is your common sense to balance it out. I must say that no one likes an arrogant director and then, films is all about communicating to the society.

On the other hand, defining responsibility from the society's point of view is that watching films is a conscious decision of going to theatre, buying tickets and then going inside. No one forces that decision unless you want to do it.

A very interesting incident occurred when Mr Amol Palekar came to Australia to visit his daughter. In a conference, one of his films depicting India's poverty provoked one Indian's sentiments and he yelled out, "I feel ashamed when Indian film makers show such poverty in their films". Mr Palekar, without losing a breath, said, " and I feel ashamed when Indian film makers show girls in mini skirts dancing and shouting on the roads, "people call me sexy" because I haven't seen these things happening on the streets of India. I would rather watch an honest portrayal of India then a crassy, fantasized, cheap portrayal"

Q. Tell us, what kind of movies do you like to watch yourself?
AS:
Every person has a 'spectrum of emotions' and any film which touches that part of my spectrum which I have not experienced before, I go 'wow'. For eg, recently I saw a movie, Mr and Mrs Iyer. The director was building up on an interesting road of emotions. Although the journey could be a little tiring but finally when we reached the destination, that is the climax of the film, it fascinated me to a great extent.

Film making is 'art of lying honestly.' It is as if the director is taking you to the path of illusions through your visual and audio senses. Sometimes you enjoy the journey thoroughly and the climax can be disappointing. The audience feel cheated unless the film maker has enriched the journey with various other experiences and then even a predictable climax doesn't bother them much.

Sometimes the journey can be boring but the destination is extremely exuberant. So it is all about communication however the stakes are very high. If the film maker fails to communicate to an initial set of audience, a negative word is spread when they go out of the cinema.

Q: How do you rate Indian cinema compared to Hollywood or do you think there is a comparison?
AS: We are lacking in professionalism, in approach and action. An interesting thing is that we get to see all those mega hits of Hollywood and never get to know about those ones which come out of the box office and fall flat. Indian film industry is unique in the sense of totality - the color, the music and the other aspect of human fantasy - are all poured into Indian films. There is no parallel to that.

In the same way, there is no comparison to Hollywood.

I personally do not think we can compare any creativity, be it a person or an industry. Both have their own different tastes.

Q: Lastly we would like to get some guidance from you for our inspiring film makers to advise them on your inspirational theme and some literature available on film making.
AS:
There is a plethora of books available on different aspects of film making however if someone wants to know more about Indian cinema, there is a book I recommend, 'All the Indian cinema' by Gargi.

In regards to the inspirational words, I would like to say, If you have decided about entering the industry then do it. The only factor which stops you to do things is yourself. My advise is to enter the industry if you are really passionate about it and once you have taken the path then enjoy the journey.

We thank Mr Anupam Sharma for his valuable time and his creative ideas and especially an extraordinary articulate way of expressing those great ideas. For further contact, you can send him an email on filmsandcastingtemple@usa.net
In the Previous Issues:

Anupam Sharma
Vikrant Kapoor - Zaaffran Restaurant
Rashmi Mehrotra 
Dr. Jagnnath Mazumdar
Naville Roach - Fujitsu Australia
Dr Arapaut Sivaprasad - WebGenie Systems
Suda Navada
Jeet Bindra - Caltex
Dr. Bhuvan Unhelkar
Safina Uberoi - My Mother India Anupam Sharma Bobby Singh Sheba Nandkeolyar
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