BRINDA BHATT – PROUDLY REPRESENTING THE INDIAN AMERICAN WOMAN IN HOLLYWOOD
Posted by barkha on June 7, 2011 | 3 Comment
The fact that Brinda Bhatt is a former sportsperson is very indicative in here straight shooting style. One of the only Indian American Woman, who is also a top notch talent Manager in Hollywood, Brinda represents the perspective of both the agent, which she was, and, the manager, which is what she currently is. Wading through personalities on both sides of the table, the creative and the business, Brinda recently branched out on her own to bring her experience, exuberance and expertise of managing actors, writers and creative Hollywood talent, to the forefront in this “walking on egg shells business” that she is a part of. A lawyer by education and a Hollywood talent manager by passion, Brinda gives her unique perspective on showbiz on both sides of the Pacific.
Over to Brinda:
What got you started as an Agent and now a Manager?
It started in school. I used to be fascinated by movies and television and for whatever reason I used to say to myself, that I wanted to represent actors. There was no rhyme or reason and no logic to it. But being that I was Indian, education was of paramount importance in our household, so I ended up doing Law School. During this time I found out through my research about agencies and publicists and I made a list of people I would like to contact after I graduated. When I was in Law School I worked for a sports marketing agency in Boston, that was more something to put on my resume and to get the experience. Growing up I had been into sports in a big way, even now I tend to be very active, so there I was being a sports agent. After graduation I travelled with my parents and then ended up moving to LA. Sent out my resume to a bunch of agencies and started out working in UTA in May of 99. It’s not even the glamour that attracts me to my job, I just love watching great cinema, Hollywood, Bollywood. There are some genres that I like more than others and even television, which I think has become such a great platform for actors and writers and directors.
Given that you were Indian American, were there any challenges that Hollywood presented to you, as you started your career?
The environment was certainly open, nobody was preventing you from doing what you wanted to do. As an Indian growing up in America, this business is still very male dominated, so maybe they don’t think of it as much, but I do. I look around and don’t see many Indian American female agent or manager in the business, except me. There were two of us when I was an agent, Alpita Patel from WMA and myself. As far as I was concerned I wanted to really excel and make the Indian woman really proud, so it was more of an internal challenge, as opposed to any external blocks.
Is there any particular Bollywood actor that you would really like to represent?
If you had asked me that question nine years ago, I would have said Aishwarya and I did try my hardest to represent her and it almost happened but it didn’t. Now, at this stage of my life, I don’t think it is worth my time to represent a Bollywood actor of that stature now. What I mean is that not specific to her, but what I see is that most of the Bollywood actors have it so great there, they make good money there, they are well known in their turf and for them to come here and look for parts, I mean they aren’t going to do small parts and why should they. They want it to be a lead or a great supporting part but quite frankly those roles are not out there and they are probably not going to go to the Bollywood actors. I think someone such as Anil Kapoor did it the right way. He was in a movie that was clearly an Oscar winner, he promoted himself in a great way and he got representation with a great agent and he took a great job doing 24. I’m not sure many Bollywood actors would do what he did, but I think for him the timing is great, he had, had his best days as an actor in Bollywood, so he was able to take the ten months and do a 24.
Your perspective on the two worlds, Hollywood and Bollywood?
Firstly I never say never about anything, but I think it might be hard to see a Bond movie being made for a global audience with a Bollywood star. Well let me turn it around, is a Bollywood actor going to be willing to put in the work to go get that part, it’s not as if Hollywood is going to land up in Mumbai seeking a Bollywood star as James Bond, until you do those pieces of global cinema where you get noticed. And that means cinema that the world sits up about. I’m not saying that in a derogatory way, I want them to care, but non Indian audiences are not going to be gung ho about Bollywood films, right away to notice these performances, so it is up to the actor to do work, that does get noticed by the non Indian audiences here and that will then result in a James Bond type of part coming the way of Bollywood actors. In fact instead of the folks from there taking ideas from here and making them into Hindi films, I think it will be great if we can remake a Sholay or a Silisila, as an American film. That would be a way of connecting. The other way of connecting the two worlds, it is happening already, would be through Television formats like Reality shows, that is already underway.
This is going to sound strange, but I do find that some Indian actors, whether from India or from the US, shy away from being represented by an Indian Agent or Manager. By the same token I have represented some top notch Indian American actors and it worked out so well, cause I understood both the worlds.