Perfect platform. Actor Anchal Munjal, identified by portal, has shot a music video. Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI Aspiring actors in the UAE who want to make it big in Bollywood need no longer be at the mercy of middlemen as a first-of-its-kind website offers them a direct platform to showcase their talent., India’s first online portal, was launched by film producer Sunil Bohra in May to help build a credible bank of talented actors, the website’s business head Arshad Khan told XPRESS from Mumbai.

Making it clear that the forum is not for “wannabes”, he said: “Our platform is only for serious talent. Most of our applicants are graduates from premier institutes like the National School of Drama, Film and Television Institute of India, Rang Mandal, prominent theatre groups and international bodies.”

Music video

The response has been overwhelming. Khan said within a month of its launch, the website has received over 3,000 applications from the Hindi-speaking diaspora all over the world, of which at least 10 per cent is from the UAE. “A Dubai-based company has already shot a music video with an actor – Anchal Munjal - identified by our portal. The same company has also responded to our notification inviting scripts for a short film. The short film they propose to produce will also be shot in the UAE.”

With the number of applicants from the UAE set to grow, Bombaycasting is working out the modalities to facilitate the selection of talent from within the UAE, he added.

According to Khan, “We found there was a gap in the right talent reaching the right place at the right time. Actors are often at the mercy of coordinators and casting directors. So we wanted to provide an open platform for them with production houses and film makers getting a direct access to their profiles. They can also post their requirements and get multiple applications for a role, be it lead or cameo.”

Applicants merely need to log on to the portal and send their pictures and portfolio of work. There is no fee for registration or usage of the site. Subsequently, a selection committee screens the applications and zeroes in on a shortlist. “We have a five-member panel that calls them up, meets them personally, understands their needs and sees where they can fit in. Some may want to embrace new age cinema, others hard core commercial films, yet others festival films, season TV and so on.”

Once the selection is done, the short-listed actors have to enter into an exclusive contract with Bombaycasting.

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