Jamia students making their mark in Bollywood

By Rahul Vaishnavi, IANS
Sunday, February 27, 2011

NEW DELHI - They are making films with big names and editing critically acclaimed movies. The alumni of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Mass Communication Research Centre, who are going places in the film industry, give credit to the university for shaping them up.

At the same time, they feel ex-students working in Bollywood should have a strong network and also interact with those pursuing their course.

Lauding their university, directors Danish Aslam, Alankrita Shrivastava and editor Sandeep Singh Bajeli say that the environment and experience that Jamia provides played a major role in moulding their personalities and giving them the right perspectives.

It also provided mindspace and instilled confidence by laying stress on practical teaching, they feel.

Bajeli, editor of the critically acclaimed film “Lahore” and “Phas Gaye Re Obama”, says Jamia does not limit students to any one aspect of filmmaking but allows them to explore and experiment in every department.

After a strong foundation was laid in the first year, where I learnt from puppetry to radio jockeying to street theatre, I started grasping the finer nuances of filmmaking and learnt intuitively. Jamia encouraged me to have an independent outlook, he said.

Danish Aslam, director of Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer “Break Ke Baad”, has the similar views.

The special thing about Jamia is that it offers a broad course focused on practical knowledge. It was only after familiarising us with various other creative mediums apart from filmmaking that the regular course commenced, he said.

Alankrita, who debuted in Bollywood with Gul Panag starrer “Turning 30″, says the experience at the varsity freed her mind and helped her to discover herself.

The place has an unique atmosphere and the training enabled me to work hard in the industry. We watched and studied a lot of films during those days, which eventually helped us significantly, said the director.

Apart from the course structure, faculty and equipment, which are among the finest, the university makes sure that its students are modest and humble.

There are many people in the industry from other reputed media institutes who are very arrogant. They have a superiority complex for no reason. But this is not the case with all of us who are from Jamia, said Alankrita.

Other Jamia students believe it’s all about the approach towards the course.

The thing about the courses at Jamia is that they are general in nature and not specific to say just direction or editing. Moreover, the focus of these courses is not to get you an entry into Bollywood, but a well-rounded learning, said Akshay Singh, cinematographer of “Turning 30″. He has also worked on films like “Raajneeti” and “Kites”.

However, the students feel interaction between the ex-students working in the film industry and those who are pursuing their degrees should increase. They also emphasise on better networking among pass-outs in Mumbai.

The sharing of knowledge between us and the students would be wonderful and beneficial for both. Our experiences would help them to get a head start in Bollywood. Therefore, the interaction levels must go up, said Aslam.

Agreed Alankrita, who was unhappy with the lack of communication and suggested that both sides should intermingle once in a while.

Ex-Jamia students working in Mumbai were oblivious to the fact that others from the same institution were also in the industry.

There were people whom I knew, but was unaware that they were from Jamia too which did come as a surprise. Ultimately, these things do affect you when you are in a new place and a support structure is surely needed, said Bajeli.

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