Prashantt Gupta: To go from supporting roles in India to lead in Hollywood is something
So I collaborated with two close producer friends in Mumbai, and then I flew to LA to meet a company, Mulberry Films, which had expressed an interest to work with me on this project. And that's how it started.
Bollywood actor Prashantt Gupta who was in Neerja and Tashkent Files more recently has just finished a major Hollywood stint. His film A New Christmas was sold out at Heartland international film festival. Talking about the film, the actor told midday, "I was involved from the get-go in its making. Last year, I produced a short film called TU and it not only made a strong impression on viewers, but it also paved the way for me to develop a feature project. And I had decided from the get-go that if I was going to be involved in producing something, it would be an English film for the American and international market. So I collaborated with two close producer friends in Mumbai, and then I flew to LA to meet a company, Mulberry Films, which had expressed an interest to work with me on this project. And that's how it started."
Narrating about his experience, the actor told us, "The experience of shooting in the freezing winter of New York was the most divine experience of my life. All the more overwhelming because the film not only rested on my shoulders as the lead actor, but also as one of the producers. The punctuality on American sets is phenomenal, the production lingo is a bit different from India, which was refreshing, and not a moment passed forgetting that a Christmas movie was always my dream. What's most gratifying is the range I've managed to cover in terms of character types and looks with Neerja, The Tashkent Files and now A New Christmas. To go from supporting roles in India to lead in Hollywood is something that I hope leads to more substantial opportunities here.
A New Christmas just made its World Premiere at the prestigious Academy Award qualifying Heartland International Film Festival. Now in its 28th year, the festival had 5000 submissions and chose 200 films, of which mine was given two screening slots and a Sunday night premiere show. The screening was sold out, I walked into the premiere and saw a line of people stretching from the theatre upto the popcorn line. I thought it was for the Joker or Gemini Man. My wife photographed the line out of pride, and I quickly went and downed two shots to let the feeling sink in."
But a lingering grouse in his heart remains as he says there's a lack of genuine respect for artistes. "I pray for a day Mumbai treats me as well as America. Oddly enough, all I've managed to showcase across all my films is versatility, and yet a disinterested casting director would refuse to test me on grounds of not fitting the bill. One minute you are a leading star at a big film festival in America, next day you're told by a guy in Aram Nagar that you don't qualify. I'm starting to believe he's right, I deserve better. The late success of Nawazuddin and Pankaj Tripathi keeps my spirit going, or else I may have lost my spirit or sanity by now."
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