Indian film world nepotist: Indian-origin Hollywood actor

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) He could've made a living out of his passion for acting in his native Mumbai, provided "nepotism" in the Indian film industry hadn't driven him away. Lavrenti Lopes, who is originally from Goa but who now works in Hollywood, says showbiz back home is tougher for an "outsider" like him.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Lopes, whose parents are from Goa, shifted base to New York in 2007 to pursue his dreams. There, life took a dramatic turn for him and he landed roles in "Afghan Hound", "Love, Lies and Seeta" and "Desperate Endeavors".

The alumnus of the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute is now set to feature as a solo lead in English language film "The Mad Ones" this year.

"Growing up, I watched an equal amount of Indian movies as Hollywood movies. There's a lot of nepotism in the Indian industry and since I don't come from a film family, I didn't really know the way to get in or the dos and don'ts of the Indian film industry," Lopes told IANS in an email interaction from New York.

"When it comes to the industry in the US, it's very much based on merit. If you were to compare the number of actors in India that come from film families versus America, you'd know what I'm talking about," added the 27-year-old.

It may hold true - be it Bollywood or the film industry down South, a majority of reigning stars have a film lineage and what many rue as "godfathers".

But keeping that aside, Lopes is a "big fan of Indian movies".

"As an actor, I'm also an artist and there's a certain new brand of Indian cinema that has developed in recent years that is very commendable because it's not afraid to break the mould.

"I think Aamir Khan, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi have been championing this brand of cinema for years through their work, which is why I look up to them," he said.

Lopes briefly followed his career choice in Mumbai as part of the theatre circuit before he flew abroad. His move was also influenced by the dearth of a "a good education system for performing arts in India".

"Education in India is very cheap...Unfortunately, India doesn't have a good education system for performance arts," said the young actor, who was burdened by the cost of his course in New York when he first came here.

There were also work visa hassles apart from the burdens that go with being an actor. But they only made him stronger and more resilient.

"I think these obstacles make you appreciate every accomplishment, no matter how small or big," said Lopes, whose first project was "subHysteria", a Venezuelan feature film.

The decision to shift to New York, he said, was "impulsive", but he treated it like a "learning ground" where when he started actively pursuing work, "it was only obvious to move to Hollywood".

His next project, "The Mad Ones", is a story about three 20-year-old people trying to find meaning in their work and life in the digital age. He plays an Indian named Nitin.

With established Indian actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan now finding space in Hollywood films, Lopes agreed that "there are definitely a lot more opportunities for Indian actors today than even five years ago".

"Years ago, it used to be that the only time you saw an Indian was if there was a cab driver in the scene. That has changed significantly. And part of it is a societal change; and the art, albeit delayed, reflects that.

"Today it is perfectly common to see an inter-racial couple in real life and the art is slowly catching on. It's also great to have more Indians part of the creation process. The director of 'The Mad Ones', Aniruddh Pandit is an Indian-American. And we need more people like him to stir a different thinking," Lopez concluded.

(Nivedita can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Turkish mural helps keep park protest spirit alive

    By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish artist on Saturday unveiled a two-storey-high mural featuring those killed in protests two years ago over an Istanbul park that spiralled into nationwide demonstrations against the leadership of Tayyip Erdogan. The 5-by-10-metre painting by Haydar Ozay was unveiled on the second anniversary of the protests that began as an effort to stop bulldozers from razing Gezi Park, one of the few green spaces of Istanbul, to build a shopping mall. …

  • Emraan Hashmi's pre-kissing ritual

    Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Emraan Hashmi earned the title of Bollywood's 'serial kisser', but the actor says he sticks to a pre-kissing ritual to get a scene right -- he avoids berries! In an episode of "Farah Ki Daawat", hosted by choreographer-filmmaker Farah Khan, the "Jannat" actor shared that before a kissing scene in his movies, he avoids eating any kind of berries because he is allergic to them. "Best kiss was when my dog licked my face," he quipped. Emraan also tried his hand at cooking …

  • Why is Parineeti Chopra feeling privileged?

    Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Actress Parineeti Chopra says she felt proud after having lunch with actor Varun Dhawan. The actress took to micro-blogging site Twitter to talk about the 'privileged' moment. Filmmaker Karan Johar also joined them for the lunch. …

  • 'Share your Plate' campaign to aid underprivileged kids

    New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) 'Share your Plate' campaign, launched by online food delivery marketplace Foodpanda in association with Care India and Sakshi NGO, is aimed at generating cash and kind for underprivileged children. The month-long campaign has been launched to alleviate the problem of hunger which the deprived section of society has to deal with on a daily basis. "Being a food delivery platform, we realise what hardships the underprivileged have to go through to afford one square meal …

  • Irrfan to miss 'Jurassic World' promotions in India

    Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Actor Irrfan Khan is shooting for his foreign project "Inferno" in Budapest. It will keep him away from promoting his forthcoming film "Jurassic World" in India. Apart from promotional activities, the actor, who is being lauded for his latest film "Piku", will also miss its Indian premiere. …

  • Manoj Bajpayee's production venture titled 'Missing'

    Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Actor Manoj Bajpayee will be debuting as producer soon and he has titled his production venture "Missing". …

  • Russia asks Britain to block auction of "stolen" painting

    The Russian bureau of Interpol has sent a request to the British police to block the auction of a painting by a famous Russian artist because it was "stolen", Russia's Interior Ministry said in a statement on Saturday. The ministry said that the painting in question, "Evening in Cairo" by Ivan Aivazovsky, "was stolen in 1997 from a private collection in the city of Moscow". "That a painting of this scale and quality has not been on public view for over seventy years is remarkable and presents …

  • Ranveer is now calmer, less anxious: Anushka Sharma

    Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Actress Anushka Sharma, who worked with Ranveer Singh in the 2010 film "Band Baaja Baaraat", says he is now a calmer and less anxious person as compared to his earlier days. "When we worked together for 'Band Baaja Baaraat', Ranveer used to be very anxious and hyper on set. …

Loading...