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Talent Scout Aanand Rai’s 5 Best Bollywood Movies!



My friend Aanand Rai  whom I’ve known  from the time  he made a  little-seen crime thriller Strangers, was Ravi Rai’s kid brother  to begin with.  Today he  has grown  into a formidable  producer  director and talent scout, known  to push the envelope  far enough  to make  a difference to  Indian cinema  per se. Aanand Rai  is known  to believe  in fresh fertile talent.

Be it actors, writers  or  technicians, he is ever-willing to  give  talent a chance. Here are  5 artistes in Bollywood who  owe their initial  recognition to Aanand Rai. Aanand Rai   of course shrugs  off  any claims  to  promoting new talent. “It’s  all done with a selfish motive. The greed to get more and more talent  into my films. ”Look at what the greed has got us!

  1. Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds  Manu:  I wish Kangana had not fallen   out with Aanand Rai after the two Tanu Weds  Manu films.  Just see what the two films  did to Kangana’s career! She  and her  devoted  fans may attribute  her success to Gangster which came before the two TanuManu  films , and  Queen which came  after the  first TanuManu  film . Fact is, Ms Ranaut discovered her image  as  the  fearless smalltown woman with a heart  of gold and a tongue so sharp it can slice  onions and men’s egos, in the two TanuManu  films. Aanand gave  Kangana an  image  that has carried her  to where she is now.
  2. Swara Bhaskar in Tanu Weds  Manu :  Before she  played the second lead in Aanand’s  Tanu Weds Manu and Ranjhana Swara  was trying to find her bearings  in an  industry without a godfather. Aanand Rai’s cinema  made  audiences  sit  up and  notice  Swara. Some thought she  should have  played Tanu. The   thought didn’t go down well  with Kangana’s fans.Aanand  then cast her as the lead in Neil Battey Sannata which also launched the promising directorial career  of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari.
  3. Dhanush  in Raanjhanaa:  The Tamil superstar was happy being the lion of his  own Tamilian jungle. Dhanush had  turned down any number of  Bollywood offers  before Raanjhanaa. He  said yes,  to Aanand  because they are brothers from different mothers. Dhanush is  now doing Aanand’s Atrangi Re with Akshay Kumar.
  4. Mohammad Samad  in  TumbaddSamad was  only 12 when he  shot for this film. He was  18 when  it  finally got released.  He was  exceptional  in  this  esoteric  powerful film that Aanand Rai produced.20-year  old Mohammad Samad who left such a  strong impact in Tumbadd,  played the  central  character in the Netflix series Selection Day. Playing underprivileged  characters comes naturally to Mohammad  Samad. He is the youngest of 6 siblings in a family from Roorkee in Hardwar. His father own a  grocery store. Mohammad who made his acting debut at age 12  in  the National award winning  film Gattu is now acknowledged as  a  talent of substance.
  5. Jassi Gill in Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi:   Jassi Gill as a sad lonely dumped Sardarji in China singing Karaoke in dimly lit clubs to Sunny Deol songs who suddenly finds more excitement in his life than he had bargained for, is absolutely delightful. He is the loser who has nothing to lose except boredom, out on an extended adventure binge with a girl who has everything to lose but is determined not to. Says Aanand, “Whether  it is my writers Himanshu Sharma and Kanika Dhillon, or actors  like Jimmy Sheirgil and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, I believe in talent.”
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