Indo-Australians to make India-centric films Down Under

By Paritosh Parasher, Melbourne, Dec 8 : A group of Sydney-based Indo-Australian professionals have come together to form a venture which would invest in feature films, documentaries and TV shows with Indian themes.

The Australia India Film Fund (AIFF) would be led by two Sydney-based professionals of Indian origin - Devendra Gupta and Yateendra Gupta.

The AIFF was launched Friday and has also managed to rope in perhaps the best known Indian film personality Down Under, Anupam Sharma, as its Head of Films.

"We believe it is the right time to invest in the Australian film industry's niche projects and redefine the form and content of an Australian Story," Anupam Sharma said in a media release.

"India-centric stories like the UK's 'Bend it Like Beckham' have resonated with global audiences, and we hope to do the same from Australia," the Sydney-based filmmaker and consultant added.

"It is important for us to entrust our finances and resources in professional hands with impeccable reputation," AIFF CFO Yateendra Gupta said in a media release.

"We are delighted that Australia's leading film professional working with India, Anupam Sharma, is going to be at the helm of our initial projects. He has an enviable reputation for professionalism over hundreds of Australia-India projects," Gupta added.

"It is a wonderful initiative and we expect to give some good movies to the audience both here in Australia and India," Anupam Sharma told IANS from Sydney.

Sharma, who has been the line producer for most of the Indian films shot Down Under, believes that even though the AIFF movies would be made here in Australia their "soul" would have the quintessentially Indian elements of emotional story, music, colour and intense drama.

The announcement comes at a time when the size of the South Asian community is burgeoning in this country. India has emerged as the largest source of skilled migrants to Australia. The number of Indian students in Australia in the last decade or so has always been very high.

"We have professional crews, a producer's offset and a strong Indian diaspora," Anupam Sharma said. "Now with this fund, Australia can be more than just a service provider for the Indian film industry, but an active participant in India-centric film projects," the newly-nominated Australian Day Ambassador added.

The Australia India Film Fund, which plans to make at least one feature film, one documentary and one TV show in the next 12 months; would also be assured about the casting and other technical aspects of film-making like music, vocals and photography.

The AIFF business plan developers would not be disappointed as far as the number of aspirants dreaming to work in Indo-Australian ventures is growing with every year.

"The AIFF initiative would help us to unearth some hidden talent," said Anupam Sharma, who recently hosted a SBS Television talent show "Bollywood Star".

Industry pundits have welcomed the initiative as another step towards growing bilateral links.

"It's terrific to see more opportunities for Australian filmmakers to explore stories with a unique viewpoint. India and Australia have great shared stories to tell," Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason has said.

He would know what he is talking about as, after all, India's famous 'Hunterwali' aka Fearless Nadia aka Mary Evans came from Down Under.

(Paritosh Parasher can be contacted at )

--IANS (Posted on 08-12-2013)

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