Udaan actor Rajat Barmecha's Facebook post paints a dispiriting picture of the film industry

In 2010, Vikramaditya Motwane made his Bollywood debut with a film called Udaan. The critically-lauded film was noticed for all the right reasons — including its lead actor, a then teenaged Rajat Barmecha.

Barmecha's performance won kudos — which made it strange how the actor all but disappeared from the scene post-2010. There was a small role in Shaitan, then movies you're not likely to have heard of — Life Reboot Nahin Hoti and Warrior Savitri.

Rajat Barmecha. Photo courtesy Facebook

Rajat Barmecha. Photo courtesy Facebook

What went wrong?

That clearly is a question Barmecha has been asked often, because he took to Facebook on 3 June 2017 to put up a long and heartfelt post.

Barmecha writes:

I love to act. It's the only profession I can imagine myself to be in. When I came to Mumbai, I didn't know much about cinema. But Udaan and Vikramaditya Motwane taught me everything I (now) know. Udaan was my film school.

I have always been a little choosy when it comes to the kind of films I want to be a part of. But that doesn't mean I was flooded with offers after all the appreciation I got for Udaan. I got many offers but most of them were from people who wanted to make another Udaan or another Delhi Belly or another Dil Chahta Hai. I would rather do one good film than be a part of five bad films (so) I chose to be wise and not take up random films just for money.

I waited...

Did a film called Disco Valley with Viacom Films but it never released.

Waited more...

Did a few short films out of which one won a National Award and the rest went to a lot of film festivals abroad.

Waited again...

But at some point you do need money to survive in a city like Mumbai.

So I did a couple of projects just for money and they turned out to be real bad. I felt horrible.

And then I strictly decided not to be a part of projects I don't believe in. Because I know I don't have a godfather sitting with me and giving me films after films. I have to make my own path without any help at all.

I waited more and did a film recently directed by Imtiaz Ali's associate which is in post-production now. And hopefully will be out this year.

I got a lot of respect as an actor from almost all the 'big names' of the film industry...Got a lot of appreciation...Everyone said he is a brilliant actor...Will go real far...None of those guys offered me any films. But I don't have anything against anyone. This is not at all a hate post or a rant or anything negative, not even close.

The post has been circulated widely since the time Barmecha put it up, and with good reason.

Barmecha's words will resonate with anyone who dreams about making it big in the film industry, but doesn't have the connections to see them through.

It shines a light on the very real effects of nepotism — star kids receive multiple chances, the non-star kids don't.

It also speaks to the number of talented actors who can't seem to break into the big league.

It speaks to the oft-limited avenues actors like Barmecha have access to and the conundrum they face — picking up the similar films that come their way (in which case they are typecast) or holding out for diverse scripts and opportunities (in which case they're labelled 'choosy').

Bolder scripts, independent filmmakers, and the digital platform are changing the industry, but it's a slow process and the ratio of opportunities to aspirants can seem skewed.

No wonder that Barmecha's post has become a talked-about point today. Whether that will merely help clear the air, as Barmecha intended, or lead to better opportunities for the actor remains to be seen.

Read Barmecha's full post here.

Published Date: Jun 07, 2017 02:18 pm | Updated Date: Jun 07, 2017 02:18 pm

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