'The Bollywood Project': An unseen, unreleased documentary

'The Bollywood Project': An unseen, unreleased documentary

A gritty insider look at Bollywood, following four uncelebrated artists and workers

While a host of self-referential Bollywood feature films have been made on the inner workings of the Mumbai Hindi film industry, it's incredible that no one has attempted a definitive documentary film yet.

Actually, that's not entirely true. It's been filmed. You just haven't seen it yet.

For the last four years, Adam Dow and Ruchika Muchhala (co-producers and co-directors) have been following and filming four people behind the scenes, literally, for a documentary tentatively titled "The Bollywood Project."

In the film, Harry is a foreigner who stumbled into a career as a Bollywood actor after being spotted and scouted as a tourist in Colaba.

The second character, Premji, is a powerful but doubtful union leader who has taken on the cause of the hundreds of laborers employed on Bollywood film sets.

The third story centers around Ojas, a transgender make-up artist to whom celebrity Bollywood divas owe their sex symbol status.

And lastly, there is Pooja, a small-town girl who has come to the big city to dance in films, who is transformed into an all-out sexy "item number" dancer.

As young and independent filmmakers new to both the industry and the city, Dow and Muchhala's fresh curiosity leads them far into the world of working artists within the film industry.

"We're talking about workers whose physical labor is required on sets, creative artists who are responsible for the look of top celebrities, and performers who are thrown in amongst dozens of others in a song-and-dance number," said Muchhala.

"The film is intended as a 70-minute documentary, exposing the reality of such artists and workers rarely acknowledged in this film industry.

"Interestingly, each of the characters undergoes an identity transformation as they juggle between the fantasy and reality of dreaming big and becoming a part of Bollywood."

Shot in cinema-verité style, “The Bollywood Project” offers an insight into the reality of the world’s fastest growing film industry. But, on another level, it's also a documentary and analysis of modern-day urban Indian culture, which Bollywood tends to dominate -- especially where we live, in Mumbai.

"The Bollywood Project" is now in post-production. The filmmakers are seeking funds through co-production opportunities with Bollywood producers and  pre-sale opportunities. You can donate directly via their website and make tax-deductible payments if you are in the United States.

Sita Wadhwani is CNNGo City Editor in Mumbai.

 

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