Tanya Maniktala, Palomi Ghosh and Others Join BAFTA’s Breakthrough India Initiative

A Suitable Boy star Tanya Maniktala, Gully Boy cinematographer Jay Pinak Oza and Scam 1992 writer-editor Sumit Purohit are among the 10 participants in the first-ever BAFTA Breakthrough India Initiative. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) on Thursday unveiled the list of participants for the initiative, which was announced last November.

Supported by streamer Netflix, the initiative will identify, celebrate and support talents working in movies, games or TV in India. Due to an overwhelming number of applications, the jury decided to select 10 Indian talents, double the number previously announced.

The jury consisted of actor Anupam Kher, Netflix executive Monika Shergill, filmmaker Mira Nair and producer Siddharth Roy Kapur.

The entry list also includes Typewriter actor Palomi Ghosh, writer-producer of Mehsampur Akshay Singh, Nasir writer-director Arun Karthick, composer Karthikeya Murthy, The Ebb Tide writer-director Renu Savant, Elephants In My Backyard director Vikram Singh; and Shruti Ghosh, a game developer and art director.

Participants will receive one-on-one mentoring, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for a year, and full BAFTA membership with voting rights.

They will also connect with and learn from some of the best in the British and Indian creative industries, share their expertise with peers around the world, access opportunities beyond geographic borders, and be promoted globally as BAFTA Breakthrough artists.

AR Rahman, BAFTA Breakthrough India Ambassador and Jury Chair, said he was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applications from across India for the initiative.

“This is a huge testament to the level of creative talent India has to offer.

“As our country is going through unprecedented times, we hope to launch yet another cohort soon as we believe this program provides an opportunity of a lifetime for Indian talent and I look forward to seeing the new opportunities Breakthrough can bring for them in the coming years,” Rahman said.

BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry congratulated the participants and welcomed them to the BAFTA Breakthrough family.

“We are immensely grateful to Netflix for supporting Breakthrough’s global expansion, sharing our vision to celebrate emerging talent from diverse backgrounds and cultures,” she added.

Berry also informed that due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be a delay in the application process for the next Breakthrough India cohort.

“We are continuously committed to supporting future Breakthrough talent, but we are also aware of the current situation in India due to the pandemic, so while we will fully support the Breakthrough participants announced today, we have decided to open the the next round of applications,” she says.

Monika Shergill, VP, Content, Netflix India, said India is one of the world’s largest centers for storytelling.

“Despite these difficult times, it has been incredible to see how amazing Indian talent is applying across different genres. It served as a reminder of the tremendous opportunities for new talent, fresh voices and untold stories that can travel across the country and around the world,” she said.

Since its launch in 2013, BAFTA Breakthrough has supported more than 160 talented newcomers, including artists Bukky Bakray, Paapa Essiedu, Letitia Wright, Florence Pugh, Josh O’Connor, Abubakar Salim and Lauren Ridloff, game creators Chella Ramanan, Segun Akinola, Gemma Langford, and directors Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht, Rose Glass, Stella Corradi and Destiny Ekaragha, among many others.

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