As you might have noticed I’ve started a new series, featuring real people and their true life stories on my blog. I often look around and people-watch wondering who they are and what their story is… fascinating stuff! If you’d like to share Your Life on My Blog please write to [email protected]. xoxo
Hi! My name is Aadil Abedi, and I am yet another British Indian who’s madly in pursuit of following ‘The Bollywood Dream”. Although having lived in London all my life, I have always maintained a close relationship with all things Indian. Be it food, clothes, music, (girls!) and most importantly films.
Now it sounds cliché, but making a name for myself in Indian Cinema has always been my dream. Hearing things, “it’s all about who you know”, “being at the right place at the right time” and “nepotism in the Indian film industry”, made the feat seem incredibly tough. However last year I decided to put ALL that aside, and against the wishes of certain members of my family, I went to New York to attend a 6 month intensive Acting Course at the renowned ‘Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute’. Since coming back to London this year, I decided that the skills I learned in America, coupled with my life in London, meant moving to Mumbai seemed like the next step.
I frequently travel to Hyderabad, where my Grandfather lives, but haven’t visited Mumbai since 1998. All I can remember then, was crowded streets, lots of traffic, interesting smells and very hot weather. I’m sure that has all intensified, but in spite of all of that, I will be making the move to Mumbai this year to fulfil this ‘dream’ and at least give it a shot. I don’t want to look back in years to come and say ‘if only….’. I know ‘B-town’ is a big bad world, but I’m hoping I have something different to bring to the table, and to Mumbai, and can only pray things work out for me favourably.
I ended up auditioning for my first Bollywood movie from the UK. It was for the international star hunt for ‘Aashiqui 2’. Initially I was very sceptical about uploading an audition video onto YouTube, thinking will the Aashiqui team even have a look? It could be a whole marketing scheme on their behalf to promote their movie and at the end of it, they would end up casting some famous actors son (!) But Mahesh Bhatt has openly said he looks to cast newcomers, so I thought why not – I have nothing to lose, except maybe coming across cringe worthy for 2 minutes!
After watching many audition videos, I was quite taken aback as to how bad some of the people were. I thought they were taking the mick! However, there were a few diamonds in the rough, which gave me piece of mind that at least some people were taking this seriously. The scene selection was limited and was taken from the first Aashiqui movie. The dialogues were fairly dated and over the top, with Rahul Roy’s acting not leaving much to be desired. I wanted to pick a scene with the least amount of shouting and a song whereby I didn’t come across like I was about to make love to the camera… with a fake guitar.
I practiced a bit, got changed into some suitable ‘YouTube worthy’ attire and with the help of my Sister and Brother-in-law, I began to audition for my first Bollywood movie. I tried a few takes first to get my lines down, but then realised I needed to emote more. Now obviously English is my first language, but I do have a good understanding of Hindi. And I do think for this audition, I managed to pull it off… if I may say so myself! You can check out my video beneath and leave your honest comments:
After I recorded my scene, song and little introduction, bizarrely I started to feel more and more anxious. When it came to actually uploading my audition onto the Aashiqui YouTube channel, and my own personal account, butterflies started fluttering everywhere (inside me of course!). The thought of my family and friends about to see my real audition footage did scare me a little. From a young age, everyone in my family joked (and jokes) about me being ‘Mr.Bollywood’, but it was always a remark I used to shrug off. Deep down I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, but never really thought I would have a chance. Coming from a completely non-filmi background it was always a ‘dream’, which I never thought I would try and follow, especially all the way from London. As I am getting older and realising that I am not happy doing the mundane 9-5 desk job, this dream is something which I have to give a shot. It might turn out to be a nightmare, I don’t know. But it’s a journey I need to take and can only get over it, once I know I have at least tried.
I really am not one for talking in clichés and whenever I hear other people doing so, it all sounds so pretentious and in fact, off-putting. But from my own personal experience, I don’t know what my future holds at this precise moment in time, but all I can do is pray and keep faith that something good will happen. I would like to think I have determination, good work ethic and a great personality which people like to be around. But when push comes to shove, it’s all about who you know in this industry… contacts, contacts!
There are so many talented people around, but they just never get their break. I do feel however, that the Indian film industry needs to open its eyes to the vast pool of talent that lies outside of India and ‘filmi-families’ and allow newcomers a chance. I look up to actors like Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Madhuri Dixit and more recently Ranveer Singh, who had no film background, no famous ‘connections’ but instead made it on their own merit, talent, persistence and hard work. I would love to emulate their footsteps, and in my instance, showcase British Indian talent in all its glory.
Thanks for reading my post for MissMalini. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter (@aadilabedi). However, in the mean time, I hope you all are ready for Aadil Abedi, as I begin this daunting new journey.