It seemed almost too good to be true: four of Bollywood’s leading industry players, converging in New York City for the very first time to talk all things film making? In our celluloid dreams.
Urban Asian managed to nab a few minutes with Zoya Akhtar , Anuraadha Tewari and Imtiaz Ali after the press conference for some one-on-one gabbing. Check out what they have to say about their experiences and approaches to film making in the videos!
But what happened the weekend of October 6-7th was very much real, as the first and hopefully, annual Ticket 2 Bollywood event, aptly held at the Dream Hotel in downtown Manhattan, saw the assembly of award-winning directors Zoya Akhtar and Imtiaz Ali and acclaimed writer/director Anuraadha Tewari (the fourth invitee, director Madhur Bhandarkar, was eventually unable to attend. We suppose even dreams-come-true must draw the line somewhere). Through a series of panel discussions, one-on-one conversations, a press conference, and shared clips from their respective films, the guests shared invaluable insights, anecdotes, and advice to the attendees who ranged from aspiring actors and directors yearning to break into Bollywood, to members of the media and your regular film enthusiasts simply there for the experience.
The highlights of Day 1 were the formally-led, in-depth talks with all three directors. Memorable moments include Imtiaz Ali candidly divulging his unlikely entry into the industry and revealing the nearly-doomed fate of his now-iconic hit Jab We Met; Anuraadha Tewari educating the audience on the history of the Indian cinema hall; and Zoya Akhtar revealing her creative process—and her occasional tendency to procrastinate—in writing those award-winning scripts. Though the roads to success were diverging and distinct for each director. Sprinkled in between the directors’ individual conversations were group discussions, participants of which included such prominent members of the film and media space as actresses Nandana Sen and Melanie Kannokada, and Dream Hotel owner Vikram Chatwal.
The second day of the Ticket 2 Bollywood event brought forward more intense and informative discussions and lectures by all participating panelists including Anuraadha Tewari, Imtiaz Ali and Zoya Akhtar. In comparison to the initial day of the event, the second and final day was more interactive. Out of all the present individuals, eight randomly selected lucky people got the exclusive opportunity to sit on the same table and have lunch with distinguished writers, producers, directors and VIPs present at the Dream Hotel. During this special lunch hour, numerous conversations, laughs, cards and phone numbers were shared providing for a valuable and comforting space for networking and building the future for aspiring directors, writers and actors. Zoya Akhtar and Imitiaz Ali also treated the audience with hands-on directing experience.
Two young audience members were provided with a script written by Anuraadha Tewari to which the acted to on stage with first-hand direction given by both Akhtar and Ali. Dj Rekha Malhotra (Basement Bhangra), Wayne Sharpe (music director) were also present and provided a seminar of the importance and presence of music and songs in Bollywood. Ticket 2 Bollywood concluded successfully by director of Molecule Communications Ltd., Ajay Shrivastav, providing the final words and appreciation of thanks to all present, volunteers, sponsors and distinguished guests. He also unveiled that this event will be both annual and global. The celebratory after-party event for Ticket 2 Bollywood took place at Pranna Restaurant and Lounge (Midtown, NYC) where numerous Bollywood enthusiasts along with Akhtar, Ali and Tewari danced to bollywood and bhangra beats provided by Dj Rekha Malhotra.
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By: Anisha Jhaveri and Monty L. Kataria