Producer Anupam Sharma immensely enjoyed himself as a judge on the new four-part series Bollywood Star, which premieres on SBS at 7.30pm this Saturday.
“I was in heaven because all of them had a dream, which we all have in the film industry, and because that dream encompasses India, which is my home country, and Australia, which is my adopted country,” he said.
He was talking about the hundreds of wannabe Bollywood stars who flooded into the open auditions in the hope of winning a role in Indian director Mahesh Bhatt’s next Bollywood film. Six finalists ended up in Mumbai as a result.
“They were like me 10 years ago, trying to find one crack in the door that would allow me to be part of the both the Indian and Australian film industries,” said Sharma.
Usually he is a high-profile facilitator and line producer for Indian production teams wanting to use Australia as a location for feature films and television commercials, and a partner for Australians interested in working in India.
As a judge and advisor on production company WTFN’s Bollywood Star, he effectively crossed to the other side of the camera, although he didn’t agree to do so until he felt comfortable with the intended depiction of Bollywood. That was last June and everything was in the can by November last year.
On the way home from Cannes, Sharma visited his mother in India and showed her the first episode: “By the time we judges had said yes to the first contestants there were tears running down her cheeks. The build up of the tension has been done so nicely and there is so much drama in the episodes.”
Sharma is currently line producer for the Indian component of Being Lara Bingle, which premieres on Ten on June 12, and is working on feature films with Bill Bennett and John Winter.
He said he is apprehensive about Bollywood Star going to air: "I'm not one of those people that see themselves on screen and fall in love."