Anupam Sharma, a name not known to many, has always been a part of Bollywood even living far from India. Australia’s leading Indian cinema authority and practitioner, Anupam Sharma, as head of Films and Casting Temple, has produced the Australian shoots for more than 50 movies like Dil Chahta hai, Heyy Babyy and Deewane.
Anupam recently directed the much publicized Australian feature unINDIAN starring cricket legend, Brett Lee, and internationally acclaimed actress, Tannishtha Chatterjee. During his busy schedule, We got a chance to talk to him about his journey, his movie UnIndian and much more.
Q: Even living far from India, you have always been associated with Bollywood. From where your relationship with cinema started? What attracted you most in cinema?
A: My relationship with cinema started from theatres in Lucknow and Dehradun where I grew up watching films. In year 11 after watching Saransh, I decided to take up films professionally. Never had any romantic notion of running away from home to struggle in films in Bollywood. Always wanted to pursue it professionally. I was underage and too young to get admission into Indian film institutes or drama schools so moved to Australia where my maternal family and parents were to pursue a bachelor in films (directing and acting) then did masters.
As they say, you can take an Indian out of India not India out of an Indian. After my masters, I was working on short films when a chance meeting with the legendary Feroz Khan lead him to offer me the head of Production for his film in Australia. I never wanted to do production but my supervisor in Master’s gave me the best advice. He said “ Anupam you will always struggle as a creative person even after you succeed.
So it is your choice whether you want to struggle waitering at cafes or you want to struggle running your own production company “/ Rest is history. I opened up the production company and was super lucky to work with legends from India on my first projects Feroz Khan, Rakesh Roshan, Yash Johar, Aditya Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
Q: Your master thesis was on Indian Cinema. What was the focal point of this research and what was the main message (conclusion) out of it?
Q: How did you come up with the idea of your upcoming movie “UnIndian”? Is it anyhow connected with your book “Indian Aussies: Terms & Conditions Apply”?
A: It is not connected to Indian Aussies. That was a short documentary I was commissioned to direct for the Maritime Museum. The script of unINDIAN was brought to me by a talented first-time writer and CEO of a company in Sydney, Thushy Saathi. Loved the beating heart and then worked on it with Thushy and my writer friend from India Vikram Singh along with script editor from Hollywood
Q: “Unindian” is a very interesting name and we sense a cultural contrast comedy. What is the reason behind this name?
A: It is a take on unAustralian. An elaboration of the tags NRIs gives each other. More Indian, less Indian, south Indian , north Indian…..etc. etc.
Q: With a strong cast, “UnIndian” seems very promising. Could you please tell little about the movie?
A: It is an Australian film with a lot of heart and bit of spice. A cross-cultural romantic comedy it looks at Indian ‘things’ with a tongue in cheek. Our infatuation with white colour, doctors etc.
A: Brett was always my first and only choice so it was nice when he liked the script and gave himself up to the crew with aa lot of trust and faith.
Q: Was it very challenging to direct Brett, as he is not a regular actor? How was the overall experience?
A: The Easiest thing was to direct Brett because he is a hungry performer and eager to learn.
Q: What are your expectations from “UnIndian”?
A: I don’t have expectations from stuff I don’t have control over. With unINDIAN, our team is very proud especially my producer Lisa Duff and I that we have created a number of milestones in Australian film industry. How the audience perceives is not in our control and we hope they like it.
Image Courtesy: Indianexpress & unIndian’s website