The film, Beyond Bollywood, is about the lives of 4 characters who work on the fringes of Bollywood. All of these characters have come from humble backgrounds, moved to Mumbai from other parts of India and the world, in order to try their luck in the entertainment capital of India.
These are people that one would otherwise not know or hear about if one wasn’t a part of the film fraternity – but they are an integral part of the business. They have gone through (and people like them go through) all kinds of struggles on a day-to-day basis to “make it” in the industry. The only thing that keeps them going and the reason they stay back, despite the fact that the odds are against them, is to realize their “dream” of “making it” some day. But what really is the definition of “making it” in this business?
– About us and the story so far
Adam Dow (born and raised in Seattle, and currently settled in Mumbai) has been making films since the age of twelve with his father’s old VHS camera. He has written and directed several short films that have been circulated in the US festival circuit. Upon his move to Mumbai in 2007 he founded India’s first Improv Group known as Improv Comedy Mumbai.
Ruchika Muchhala, (born and raised in Indonesia and Singapore, and currently settled in New York). She has worked on several documentary projects and television series as an editor, writer and director. Her directorial debut was “The Great Indian Marriage Bazaar”, a documentary film that aired Internationally on various television channels, including BBC World.
We came to Mumbai in 2007 to work on a web series about the different facets of Bollywood. During the making of the web-series, we came across these 4 people, and when we approached them with the idea of making a film on them/their lives, they readily agreed. So, the Beyond Bollywood journey began in 2008 and we decided to finish shoot, after 4 years of filming, in 2012.
Both of us were complete “outsiders” to the world of Bollywood, a lot like the characters we ended up following, which worked in our favour as we had no existing biases/baggage’s. And this helped us delve deeper and find the characters we were looking for to make an interesting film. Through the making of the film we could completely relate to their struggles (especially Pooja and Harry), as we too were struggling to find our way around the maze.
– Why we wanted to tell their story
We followed and filmed these characters over a period of 4 years. We decided to follow these characters because we felt a certain connect with them and found them to be extremely passionate about what they were doing –
– Pooja, whose idol is Madhuri Dixit, came to Mumbai to become a dancer and through sheer hard work, moved on from being a background dancer to a lead dancer and also got a role in a film as the lead actress. She had to shed her “middle class” inhibitions in order to be able to do what she wanted to.
– Prem Singh Thakur, who a lot of our filmmaker friends would know, is meant to be one of the most honest men in this profession and has dedicated his life to the cause of the cine workers. He has been elected Vice Chairman of the Union over and over again.
– Ojas has been in the film industry for more than 20 years now (is considered one of the top make up artists in the industry) and has worked with some of the biggest names in the business – Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, etc. Having worked with the “stars”, Ojas has a perspective on the industry that is very different from the others’.
– Harry, a complete outsider (Harry if from Australia), came to India to travel and possibly find some work, He landed up on a film set the day he arrived in India. Initially it was tough for him to find work here, but he decided to stick around, kept trying, and managed to do TV Commercials and Films (as an extra). He also got a major role in a small hindi film, which unfortunately never released.
They all came from outside the film industry (most from outside of Mumbai), had a dream of making it BIG (a subjective term), were extremely passionate about what they were doing, and each one through sheer hard work and determination was able to do something that they are proud of. They “made it”!
We want to tell their stories, which are similar to the stories of most people that come to Mumbai (from across India and the world) to try their luck in Bollywood! We want to tell their stories so the people who are not associated with the industry understand the agonies and ecstasies of being in this world, which is unlike any other. Where fantasy meets reality!
– Production Notes
We filmed the web series (it was a 7 part web series about the different facets of Bollywood i.e. dance, music, art, mythology, extras, make up and unions) for a year between 2007 and 2008 and from 2008 we started working on the film. We got 3 of the characters during the making of the web series (Harry, Premji and Ojas), and while we were looking for the 4th character, preferably a dancer, we had a conversation with Remo, who recommended that we film with Pooja, who he felt had the drive and the ambition to “make it” in the industry.
We filmed with our 4 characters between 2008-2012. During this time, we were both in and out of India and followed them around and spent as much time as we could with them while we were in the country. We developed a great relationship with them, which allowed us to enter into their personal spaces, and they shared everything (personal and professional) with us. Whenever there would be a big event in their life, they were sure to give us a call and update us and ask us whether we wanted to film the same. Throughout the 4 years of shoot, we were the only 2 people that handled all the logistics related to filming i.e. from cinematography, to direction, to sound to production (on certain occasions we would request friends/DOP’s to shoot for us). We shot on the Sony Z 100 and the Cannon 5 D.
We finished filming in 2012 and got a Producer, Manas Malhotra, on board. Manas came with 8 years of experience in the Indian film industry, and he was able to raise some money for us to start editing the film as we had run out of funds by then. We edited the film over a period of nearly 8-10 months (as and when our editor, Monisha Baldawa, was available) and are now in need for the funds (which we are trying to raise via indiegogo) that would help us complete the film.
– Current status and what we need the money for
So far, we have funded the entire production and post production on our own and now we have run out of funds (and our parents have stopped supporting us too!). We have finalized a cut of the film, have worked with some friends on the music score and have also put together a trailer (link below). That was all we could manage with our resources.
We now need US$ 12,000 to complete the film – sound, picture and some licensing fees for the film/music clips we are using in our documentary. We are running a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo (link below) to raise the funds to be able to complete the film. Please watch the trailer and visit our Facebook page and help us by contributing and/or passing on the trailer/fb link to your friends and family who might be able to contribute.
– Crowdfunding & other links