New Indian Members of the Academy: Watch Out Oscars, Aditya Chopra is Coming For You

Well, this is an odd list!  And it inspired me to do a bit of research on how these names are chosen and what it means and what the process is.

Here are the list of names from India (not Indian Americans like Kal Penn, but actual Indian industry folks) who were just announced as new members of the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences:

Madhuri Dixit (actress)
Ali Faizal (actor)
Anil Kapoor (actor)
Shah Rukh Khan (actor)
Naseeruddin Shah (actor)
Tabu (actress)
Dolly Ahluwalia (costume design)
Manish Malhotra (costume design)
Amit Ray (production designer)
Sneha Khanwalker (Background music composer)
Aditya Chopra (producer)
Bishwadeep Chatterjee (sound designer)

 

 

This is an odd list of names and it got me thinking about where these names came from, how were they the ones chosen.  So I looked up how new members of the Academy are chosen, what is the process exactly.

Let me back up a little first.  Years ago I took a graduate school seminar from a Hollywood producer.  He wasn’t super powerful and important, but he had been involved in some critically successful films, he was a working producer who could give us a glimpse into how things really functioned (which is why the school had hired him).  And when we were talking about the Academy, he mentioned that his wife had a co-worker, an executive assistant type, who was a member somehow.  And she would take him there for lunch sometimes, it’s a really nice building and a nice place.  Maybe he would arrange to join sometime, just for that perk.

Image result for academy of motion picture arts and sciences

For him, a white man who had an over 20 year career in Hollywood, that’s all the Academy was.  A nice building with some cool perks, and if he put in a little effort, he could definitely join it.  This is the advantage of being a white man, you can join these things without thinking about it.

Looking at the exact process of membership, I can see both why he was so casual about joining and why his wife’s executive assistant type co-worker was randomly a member.  To become a member, you have to get two sponsors.  Beyond that, the requirements vary slightly branch to branch, but they all come down to having been part of 4-6 recognizable films, or else one really really good film, or in some other way shown exceptional ability.  Except for the two sponsors, these are very specious requirements that leave a lot of room for interpretation.

What that means is, if you are an executive assistant that everyone really likes because you are so nice when people show up for meetings with your boss, than your boss and one of his friends might “sponsor” you for membership as an “Executive”.  And they just have to lean on a few people they know on the membership committee to broadly interpret the definition requirements.  It’s easier than giving you a bonus and it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Seemingly.  After all, a nice hard working secretary is at least as qualified as anyone else.

And then there was my teacher, a white man with 20 years experience.  He could easily find two member sponsors, and actually fit easily within the definition for the “producer” category.  Absolutely he was qualified for membership.

The issue isn’t with who is qualified, any more than it is why whether or not Alia Bhatt will do a good job in Karan Johar’s next movie, it is with who is being left out.  Because those same specious definitions that can let in anyone can also keep anyone out.  For instance, a requirement that someone must “have standing in, and made contributions to, the motion picture industry that reflect the high standards of the Academy.”  Well, what does that mean?  It means whatever you want it to mean!  If you don’t like someone, you reject them because they don’t “reflect the high standards”. Easy-peasy.

(If you wanted to keep Madhuri out, you could just say this song was undignified and didn’t reflect the high standards, and she would be out)

And what’s really insidious is that it isn’t even necessarily conscious.  You don’t sit down and say “I am a racist and will make up a reason to reject all people of color because they don’t meet they high standards”.  No, you look at the list of names, and you go “I know that guy, I know that guy, I know that guy, I don’t know that guy and yet somehow I have a vaguely bad feeling about him based on his name and the list of films he was associated with, I don’t think he is a good fit”.

That’s how the Academy was structured, to only bring in people you could trust.  Only, it went from being a polyglot group of early film pioneers trying to keep out East Coast money and power, to a bunch of established people trying to keep out anyone new.  Until the past two years, when in a massive organizational shift suddenly there was a top-down directive to bring in those new people, shake up the Academy.

But, and this is what I am thinking of as I look at this list of names, ultimately it is still about being able to find two sponsors and at least partially meet the requirements of membership.  And also to accept the nomination for membership.  Of course the Academy isn’t going to put out a list of who rejected them, but I have to wonder, looking at these names, who else they may have asked who turned them down.

 

Now, names!  Actors first.  Here are the requirements to join the Academy as an actor, along with the two member sponsors:

(a)  have a minimum of three theatrical feature film credits, in all of which
the roles played were scripted roles, one of which was released in the past
five years, and all of which are of a caliber that reflect the high standards
of the Academy,

and/or

(b)  have been nominated for an Academy Award in one of the acting categories,

or

(c)  have, in the judgment of the Actors Branch Executive Committee,
otherwise achieved unique distinction, earned special merit or made an outstanding contribution as a motion picture actor.

 

Now, do you see where the stumbling block for bringing in a Hindi film actor is?  Two blocks actually, first the sponsorships.  You have to get to know two current members well enough to have them sponsor you.  And once you get past that barrier, you have to convince the academy that your “weird” Hindi movies “are of a caliber that reflect the high standards of the Academy”.

It’s all about who you know, and subjective quality decisions.  There is no way to win.  Hindi film can be shut out indefinitely, if the Academy wanted to go that way.  The only way for it to come in, is for their academy to decide to go out and hunt down people to sponsor, and for the board to decide that they are going to recognize Hindi productions, at all.

And so we have this odd group of actors added.  Anil Kapoor, Tabu, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Ali Faizal, those all make sense.  They have done cross over movies, they know people in Hollywood to sponsor them, and their cross over films alone almost get them to the “three screen credits” requirement.

(Of course, I know Ali from this, but I doubt it is one of the films he submitted.  But maybe!  The Academy seems open to it, at least this year)

But then we have Madhuri and Shahrukh.  That’s something different.  They don’t necessarily know anyone in Hollywood.  They don’t necessarily NOT know anyone either, for instance Shahrukh worked closely with the Oscar winning and therefore Academy member make-up man on Fan, but they aren’t in the same kind of mixing and matching level as Ali and Anil and even Tabu and Nawazuddin.  And they have nothing on their filmography that would necessarily meet the “three screen credits” requirement, not if the Academy decided it didn’t.  And yet, they are new members.

What is the Academy getting out of this?  Well, they are making valuable connections overseas.  Shahrukh himself, Red Chillies is increasingly powerful.  I don’t think Madhuri can do anything in particular for Hollywood.  But the Ambanis can, they already bought DreamWorks and helped Spielberg finish Lincoln.  And the Ambanis like it when Shahrukh gets things, it’s why Yale made him a Chubb fellow while their daughter was there.  And Madhuri, she’s someone everyone likes, no one in India will be offended by her membership, might even be flattered, why not throw her in too?

But it’s the technical memberships that I start to get really interested in.  Because those are much harder to get.  The Academy has 1,218 actors as members, versus (for instance) only 128 costume designers.  It’s not just that though, it’s that the technical area is where the Academy definitions start to vary the most from the Hindi film definitions.  For instance, Make Up and Hair.  If you are Shahrukh’s personal make-up man who was with him for 20 years until the day he died, does that mean you “have supervisory position on at least five theatrical feature films (at least three within the last  seven years) of a caliber which, in the opinion of the executive committee, reflect the high standards of the Academy”?  No, it probably doesn’t.  You did Shahrukh’s make up, you didn’t do make-up for the whole film.  And that’s a perfectly fine job structure for a film industry to have, personal make-up men and hair and everything else being part of a star’s team, but it doesn’t match the structure the Academy is expecting, they can’t make that work.  Actors are actors everywhere, but nothing else on a film set is quite the same place to place.

And so 2 of those 128 costume designers are now from Hindi film.  Because Dolly Ahluwalia and Manish Malhotra are definitely costume designers, according to the standards of the Academy.  They aren’t some untrained “dressman” who runs off to sketchy tailor shops and has 20 party dresses run up for the heroine based on a picture in a magazine, they do “look books” and idea meetings and have assistants and design concepts and all those fancy things.  Or to put it another way, they “have at least five years’ experience in the motion picture industry, and have screen credits as Costume Designer on at least four feature films of a caliber which, in the opinion of the executive committee, reflect the high standards of the Academy.”

Image result for bollywood dressman

(These guys are not who the Academy is looking for)

And then we come to Amit Ray.  Now, he is fascinating!  He is a “production designer” which is another one of those terms that doesn’t really fit with how a lot of Hindi films are made.  If Rajamouli’s wife helped him figure out how the throne room should look while they were having dinner together, does that make her a “production designer”?  What about Karan planning out how he wanted the Raichand mansion to look in K3G?  Does that make him a director/production designer, or just a director who didn’t hire a production designer?

But I can look at Amit’s filmography and go “oh, yeah, that scans”.  He did Padmaavat, and Udta Punjab and, most impressive to me, 24.  24 was really a ground up production design, it wasn’t like Padmaavat where you kind of through together a bunch of old historical images in a new way, it was something completely original.  And separate from the director’s vision, the script had nothing specific in it requiring a steam punk aesthetic, that was all on Amit.

 

 

And then there are our two music people.  Tricky one there.  Because of course the most important music folks in Hindi film are the song composers. Who aren’t always the same as the people who do background music.  But the Academy doesn’t have a category for that.  And so Sneha Khanwalker, who only does background music, and Bishwadeep Chatterjee, who only does the sound designing, are getting in before, for instance, Pritam.

Finally, most importantly, producer!  It is very very very hard to get admitted to the Academy as a producer.  There’s a courtesy of giving people producer credits if they are the stars wife, or agent, or girlfriend, or whatever.  And there’s the courtesy of giving people producer credits merely because they put up the money for the film and did nothing else.  The Academy doesn’t want those people.  It wants line producers, ones who were actually there helping during production.

The problem is, in Hindi film, you have the producers who are people’s wives and mothers.  And you have producers who put up the money.  And then you have directors.  You don’t have many of that middle category, the ones who do more work than just putting up money, but less work than actually directing the film.

Image result for raabta

(And half the time the hands on kind of producer just turns into a director anyway, like Dinesh Vijan who went from producing for Saif’s company to directing Raabta.)

I was looking for Adi’s name to show up on this list, I actually skipped down to the directing category first looking for him there, but producer makes a lot more sense.  Because that’s what he is, primarily, and he is exactly the producer the Academy is looking for.  Hands on, but not too hands on.

He is also the person the Academy is looking for, and he is looking for them.  Yash Raj opened up a Hollywood office ages ago.  They are going after the American market HARD and have been for 2 decades.  And they are going after Hollywood for real, looking for serious co-production possibilities.  Adi wants those connections, he wants to be able to go to lunch at the Academy and rub shoulders with the people who matter.  And if the Academy is looking for a way to make the Hindi market a little less aggressive, find a friend there, Adi is the friend they want.

Ultimately, that’s what this list is about.  The Academy wants India.  And they are doing whatever they need to do to get it.  They are digging up members to sponsor Hindi film candidates, and they are ramming through their membership, using the open language to get them in instead of keeping them out.

The value of an Old Boy’s club isn’t in who you keep out, it’s in what happens when you let someone in.  Adi is “theirs” now, and so is Shahrukh, and so is Manish Malhotra, and all the others.  The scrappy upstarts have been giving a seat at the table, and the bet is that, now that they are there, they will calm down, go with the flow, support the establishment.

(That’s why in real life these kind of loud student activists often end up on the ticket or one of the major parties and suddenly turn boring and conciliatory instead of angry.  It’s intoxicating, becoming part of the establishment, makes you forget who you used to be)

It’s already happening.  Two costume designers got into the Academy.  That means reverberations in India.  More and more films are going to look for costume designers, official people with sketches and degrees, instead of casual friends of the stars.  Or the star’s own people that they have brought in.  But it also means, even before this, even without realizing it, Hindi film was looking West.  They started changing how they were so that there could be costume designers, instead of just Gauri Khan picking out clothes for her husband.  And they started making movies that had a distinctive “look” which required a production designer.  And a professional cohesive sound that required a sound designer.  The rough edges are getting worn down, the structures are shifting, it is all becoming very palatable, very professional, very American.

 

Or, maybe not.  Notice that none of these names came from outside of the Hindi industry.  And yet Bahubali 2 is the most successful Indian film in the history of the American box office.  But, who could you invite in from that film?  Prabhas, an actor who has been in only 2 movies in the past 5 years and fights more than he talks?  Rajamouli, a messy type of director/production designer/writer/everything else?  It’s not a movie that can fit in any of these neat little boxes and labels that Hollywood uses to keep people in their place, it’s not a movie that needs them.

 

So, that’s my thoughts on this whole thing.  The Academy is bending over backward to get in Indian film people and even so they are still limited in who will fit within their definitions of what film professionals are.  And they are bending over backward because they want to bring them in, they want those connections and they want to pluck out the fangs, just a little bit.

 

As for what I think might happen, well, the headline says it all.  Aditya Chopra took over Hindi film before he was 25.  What is going to happen now that he has an in with America?

 

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28 thoughts on “New Indian Members of the Academy: Watch Out Oscars, Aditya Chopra is Coming For You

        • Exactly! The technical ones are the ones I find fascinating. From googling around this years list, the movies they worked on are ones that had “Western quality” of costume design or sound design or whatever they got in for. So, the few people working in India who match the Western standards are being recognized, but is that necessarily a good thing?

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  1. I can understand why the smaller people in a film like the costume designers might consider this an honor but I can’t see someone like SRK caring at all. It seems like the kind of thing he’d roll his eyes at and and promptly forget. What difference does it even make in his life? I highly doubt he would sit watching all those screeners and vote for Oscar nominations. Neither he nor Aditya Chopra need this for any ‘in’ in Hollywood. Adi was already producing films. Didn’t they make a (bad) movie with Nicole Kidman? As long as you have the money, people will line up for you.

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    • One thing I hadn’t realized was that you can only vote in your own technical branch for everything except Best Picture. So those 2 costume designers have inordinate power to select who wins the next Best Costumes Oscar. If Manish throws a party in LA and charms a dozen more voters, he would have enough of a vote block to swing the whole thing. But Shahrukh is just one of 1,200 actors voting for the acting competitions. Not that powerful. Although, if India votes as a block (counting everyone added in the past few years), they could swing it one way or the other. That’s an interesting thought, if Irrfan say, or Anil, or Anupam, was nominated for a supporting role. They’ve got decent name recognition and popularity in Hollywood now, and the Indian contingent of actors would all get behind them, no bad blood there, that might be doable. So long as the Indians voted as a block and were willing to do some modest lobbying. That’s always been the problem with Indian film at the Oscars, now coordinated lobbying campaign. But there’s enough of them there now, they could just do it on their own instead of trusting the film’s producers or the Indian government to do it.

      But you are probably right, Shahrukh will accept it as another one of those “this is really honoring all of Indian film and so I will be respectful and appropriately grateful and then forget about it” kind of tributes. And Adi will notch it up as another sign of his growing power in Hollywood and use that as a factor in the next phase of his YRF planning.

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      • Nah, there will be no block voting. Indians don’t have that kind of solidarity. They don’t even have it in political elections where it really matters so to think they will block vote to give Oscars to Indians – fat chance.

        I find stuff like this pointless – just one more example of HW trying to get into the Indian market. Throwing these popular people in the pool will automatically generate headlines in India so the Academy gets the international publicity it craves. The same reason they added Sridevi in the In Memoriam section of the Oscars last year. Small thing on their part generates a massive amount of publicity for the Oscars in new markets they may not reach in other ways. This is especially important as Americans themselves are tuning out more and more and ratings are dropping to never before seen lows every single year. The Oscars are turning into the type of thing the general audience just does not care about.

        I think the Academy is helped way more by throwing these names in rather than vice versa.

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  2. This piece was thoroughly insightful, thank you. I really wish you’d done some more research on Sneha Khanwalkar though. She’s been part of very few films (Gangs of Wasseypur, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy, Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye) compared to other prolific composers, but the great ones she’s scored for have always benefitted from her talent. Gangs of Wasseypur had one of the most seamless and story-fitting uses of songs in modern Indian cinema (She composed the songs, not just the score). And the making of the soundtrack is a treat to watch, with her explaining her process and the inspirations she picked up from various places, while working with local artists to record the eclectic blend of songs that went into the final film. Plus, GOW and Detective Byomkesh Bakshy seem like the sort of Indian films that would definitely interest the Academy, and someone so integral to the soundtrack of the same might have been considered a worthy addition in terms of talent and originality.

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    • Thank you for commenting! All of the people chosen seem highly qualified, which is wonderful. Bishwadeep Chatterjee, the other sound person, did the sound design for October, which was amazing, and also Eklavya years ago (all those moments of Amitabh using his ears because he was losing his sight).

      I wonder how the names were picked? The actors, both this year and last year (when Deepika, Priyanka, and Amitabh were added among others) seem like semi-random choices of famous names. But the technical folks are actually qualified and talented and not the type you would hear about unless you had actually worked with them. Bishwadeep worked with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who presumably is a member through his film being nominated in the 80s, and with Aamir Khan who is definitely a member. But how would Sneha Khanwalker be known? I can’t find any sort of direct connection with any current member from India. Which is the trick of the sponsorship system, you HAVE to have a direct connection before you can join. Either there is something hidden I am just not seeing, or she is so supremely talented (I am one of those few people who saw and loved Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! and you are right, the soundtrack is perfect) that two complete strangers decided to nominate her.

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      • Right, that seems a bit complicated. I presume she has a good working relationship with Dibakar Bannerjee and Anurag Kashyap. Along with the directors and professionals associated with the few commercial projects she’s dabbled in, maybe that’s where the answer lies.

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      • Yes, please… It’s insulting for non bollywood movie watchers that you’re treating us like we don’t exist by calling these people “actual Indian industry” folks – no, they’re not.

        Maybe the people who actually pick these guys don’t know, but you do, don’t you?

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        • It’s a bit of a logic puzzle, everyone in the Hindi industry is also part of the Indian film industry, but everyone in the Indian film industry is not part of the Hindi industry. Anyway, I changed the wording to be specific in some places and general in others as seemed accurate. If you read the post carefully, you will notice I also discuss the Tamil film 24, and I end with a discussion of how non-Hindi films and film workers are still ignored.

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          • It’s annoying for us because the Hindi film industry folks by default assume they’re the de facto Indian industry!

            Why call it IIFA Awards??? Raazi is the greatest “Indian film” in the last decade according to Ranbir Kapoor!!! What the F does he know about indian films to categorically state that!!!

            I know you appreciate Hindi films a lot, but the general international opinion about “Ïndian” films is very very negative, and it’s largely because of a lot of stupid Bollywood movies.

            Majid Majidi: “India needs to tell stories that don’t only talk about a make-believe world…I’ve seen many recently… I liked none!”. He’s obviously talking Bollywood here, and maybe not even aware of the other industries.

            This is what hurts us non-bollywood people! They’re not just making terrible movies, but spoiling our reputation as well.

            I can still understand them using all their powers to promote their (and only their) industry overseas, but they can’t treat themselves as THE INDIAN industry. Let them call it the HINDI film industry or BOLLYWOOD as they like it to be called!

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          • Well at least in this particular context, the growing membership of the Academy, “Indian film” is accurate. This year everyone came from the Hindi industry, but last year they had 2 or 3 Bengali artists. So they are growing their membership of “Bengali and Hindi film industry people”, or simply “Indian film industry”. Especially since some of the artists they have chosen do move between industries a little bit, the production designer here worked on Raazi, and also 24. And Rahman is a member, obviously he has worked in multiple industries. They have “home” industries of course, but they could also be seen as representing multiple language industries, more “Indian film” than any one place.

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          • First thanks for the insight to the selecting process.
            Second, I feel close to Anonymous’ thoughts because, in my eyes, too, the term “Bollywood” is the popular word for Hindi Cinema’ and for no other part of the Indian filmindustry.
            Third I fully can relate to the difficulty to promote Indian movies with all its language/regional/making differences by switching between the ‘correct’ terms when writing about such a subject.

            I neither use the term Bollywood but I don’t refer to it as Indian movies, only as Hindi movies /movies of the Mumbai filmindustry/ the Hindi language kind of Indian filmindustry/Indian Hindi language movies etc.
            I really think that it is a pity that even the most illustrious representatives of Hindi Cinema regularly use the term Bollywood (they may do so to try to establish the term as a term to be taken seriously and not in a demeaning manner…although I doubt the success…and I don’t see any sense in this term as it has nothing to do with a wood like it is the case with Hollywood).

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  3. In the ending para, there is a case made of how the non-Hindi film personalities don’t fit in the Academy framework by taking Baahubali as an example. I’m not going to ask why you think Rajamouli is ‘messy’ or why you didn’t think of the producer of Baahubali who is that ‘perfect producer’ that you described. But Baahubali isn’t the only non-Hindi film who has had a successful run at US box office(if that’s even a criteria). It reads like the last para is an after thought mention-not expanded or researched enough like the rest of the post. But I did enjoy the first sections where you have gone into details of how/why someone becomes an Academy member. I do have a question on the Hindi/Bollywood nomenclature, which I will ask in your Monday post.

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    • Even if you didn’t ask, Rajamouli is “messy” because the Academy has a very exact job description of a producer, and of a director, and they don’t expect there to be an overlap. Not to mention all the other hats that Rajamouli wore while making Bahubali. Because Yash Raj has the strong studio structure that is similar to an American studio, Adi is one of the few producers in India that actually is the kind of producer Hollywood expects.

      The last paragraph is a continuation of discussions we have had about Bahubali. It really was groundbreaking for America simply because it broke into the top 3 of the box office opening weekend. That weekend all the top movies were non-Hollywood, which has never happened before. But when they were looking for new Academy members, they didn’t look towards the Telugu industry, or to Bahubali, because the industry is still too different from how Hollywood functions to easily fit within their categories.

      And now I really am going to bed, it’s so late here!

      On Mon, Jun 25, 2018 at 11:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Good night! Can you answer this when you wake up-Does that mean all the non-American film industries(I’m thinking the various Europian,Asian & others about whom I have no clue at all)who have their film personalities as part of the Academy, all work in the structure deemed fit by the Academy?

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        • Yes, it’s a big issue. Even within American films, it can be an issue. Going back to the producer difficulties, in that same film seminar the teacher/working producer talked about how frustrating the Academy restrictions are. He gave an example of a producer who found the script and fell in love with it, found the actors, found the director, mortgaged his house to help pay for the film, but was not allowed to attend the Oscars when the film was nominated. Because he didn’t spend a certain number of days on set, which the Academy requires before you meet their definition of “producer”.

          It usually just comes up with the Awards because that’s when people start paying attention, but I assume the same kind of funky rules are going to be problems when they look at expanding their membership as well. In America, a lot of this is heavily unionized, so there are very clear job definitions and categories as defined by unions. But in lots of other places, it just doesn’t work that way, people pitch in and do whatever is needed and don’t worry about the titles.

          To me it feels like a particular kind of American arrogance. We assume our standards are “universal” because we assume everyone in the world is just like us. But, they aren’t universal, and they aren’t the only way to do things. If the Academy is serious about bringing in more international membership, they are going to have to start doing some incremental change to how they define things. Like, maybe add a category for “Stunt Coordinator” to recognize the artists in the Hong Kong industry. Or “Choreographer” for the Indian industry. Or take out their “management” category since other industries don’t have the same strong Agent system that Hollywood does. Ditto “executive” (not producer, but a separate category for people who don’t actually work on films but just work at studios) which only makes sense in a place with a large studio structure, something much of Indian film doesn’t have, and which also wouldn’t be present in a country with a state run film system.

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          • And the perverse truth is that we Indians crave for the American approval. So those who receive it will advertise it as a quality stamp just like how those makeup men & VFX companies from USA are used by PR. Its now an established fact,at least within India, that content from Bollywood is trash & cant match with what the rest of the country is creating.

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          • When I did my Master’s research on non-Indian fans, 4 years ago, even they were beginning to accept that. The trajectory I heard over and over again was that they watched Lagaan/Devdas/Om Shanti Om, fell in love with Indian movies, wanted to watch as many as possible, got sick of the modern Hindi stuff, and turned to either modern non-Hindi or old classic Hindi instead. Somehow in the past 10 years or so, the industry has just gotten boring and unambitious and bland. Well, not “somehow”, it’s the same time that the multinational corporations started buying up Hindi film. There’s all this publicity about Sony (I think) co-producing a Malayalam film for Prithviraj, and it just makes me sad, because I want to keep the corporations out and the quality up.

            On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 8:47 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • But Dharma & YRF are family run businesses rt? They are also not doing great content wise. I remember UTV had produced some Malayalam movies a while back & Reliance also attempted South. For whatever good reasons, they have left those attempts now.

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          • Dharma is partnering with multinationals a fair amount, like Fox Searchlight, they need the distribution partners and the money. Although at least Karan is also paying attention to the South enough to partner with Rana for Ghazi Attack and Rajamouli for Bahubali, plus working with the more out there Hindi directors like Anurag Kashyap and Meghna Gulzar. I don’t know what Adi is thinking with YRF, they don’t need anyone and don’t partner with anyone, but they keep hitting up the “international standards” “international level quality” message.

            The one Bombay studio that is really serious about reaching out and into India is Rajshri. Their youtube channel is my first stop when I am looking for classic films in any language.

            With the international funding, it’s not just that things are being watered down for the international market, it’s that you can make money without making a good movie. There’s a bit of a con job going on, you can go to some stupid international company with a terrible idea, get a big pay out, make your bad movie, and laugh all the way to the bank. The filmmaker’s money is coming from the investment in the production, not the box office, so they don’t actually need to make a movie people will want to watch so long as they can make a movie they can convince someone to fund. Like Fitoor, or Jagga Jasoos, or Bombay Velvet. And then you have people like horrible Prernaa Arora who just comes in to skim the money from the multinationals off the top before it even gets to the filmmakers.

            On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 9:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Ali Faizal of all people! I’m speechless.How did he even get in the list? Who does he know? Other than the Judi Dench film and Fast and Furious what has he done so far? And even in those his acting wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy.

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  5. If the professor was white, what color was the wife’s executive assistant type co-worker?

    “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned aboutlife: it goes on.” – RobertFrost

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    • That, I don’t know. It didn’t come up as part of the story. Playing the odds, I assume white as well since that was the vast majority of the membership until recently. But maybe not! And then you get into the intersectionality issues of whether someone who gained membership through shady means, but brought diversity to the membership base, still deserves their spot.

      Which is the same objection to Ali Faizal on this list. Good that someone with a foot in the Indian industry is getting accepted. But bad that someone with so little experience is getting the nod.

      On Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 12:17 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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