Mira Nair, AR Rahman, Anupam Kher, Shonali Bose named jury members for BAFTA Breakthrough India 2021

These veterans will select ten emerging Indian talents across the film, game and television industries.

Our Correspondent

Filmmaker Mira Nair, music composer AR Rahman, actor Anupam Kher, filmmaker Shonali Bose, and producer Siddharth Roy Kapur have been named as jury members for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Breakthrough India 2021 initiative.

Chaired by Oscar-winner AR Rahman, the jury also includes former BAFTA Breakthrough & Games producer Charu Desodt, current BAFTA chair and TV producer Krishnendu Majumdar and Netflix India’s vice-president of content Monika Shergill.

These experienced veterans from the film, games and television industries will select ten emerging Indian talents across the three industries. Launched last November, the flagship talent initiative, supported by Netflix, was originally due to reveal five talents, but because of an overwhelming number of quality applications, has been expanded to ten.

According to a press release, “The ten chosen BAFTA Breakthrough India honourees will receive one-to-one mentoring and career guidance, full voting BAFTA membership and access to BAFTA events and networking opportunities, both in the UK and internationally”.

As the global COVID-19 restrictions continue, the jury members met virtually to decide on the deserving honourees.

Jury chair Rahman, who was also named BAFTA Breakthrough India Ambassador in December, stated that it was an honour for him to be part of the jury. “There are many creatives in India who are looking to bring their art to the world, to showcase India’s vibrant and diverse culture, but unfortunately, they face traps both mental and external. The opportunity to discuss these blocks, to engage on issues of creativity, to make the right connections, to network and grow, would greatly benefit the plethora of talent we have in our country,” he said.

Stating that India is home to incredible artists, the maestro added, "Through Breakthrough, we offer artists our knowledge and connectivity, as well as opportunities that’ll hopefully nurture their craft and help them leave their mark on the world.”

Amanda Berry, a chief executive at BAFTA, said India has one of the most fascinating creative industries and is home to many talented film, games and television practitioners. "The BAFTA Breakthrough initiative will facilitate meaningful collaborations between creative communities globally and that is one of the most exciting, extraordinary parts of the initiative. We are so excited to be supporting the next generation of talent in India and look forward to working with them and offering unique career development, networking and promotion on a global stage,” she said.

Kapur, who is also president of the Producers Guild of India, said that often, talents from India did not find an outlet to shine, and needed access to those who can facilitate and encourage them.

“The BAFTA Breakthrough India programme will give emerging talent unprecedented opportunities to connect with and learn from the very best in the world,” he said. “I was proud to be part of such an intensive, well-intentioned and substantive jury deliberation process, with all my fellow jurors having taken the time and effort to review each candidate so closely. The final selection was difficult because there was so much outstanding talent to choose from, but I am incredibly excited with the final list of chosen honourees, each of whom I believe has the ability to make their mark on the global stage in the years to come.”

The final ten names will be announced in early May.

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