Dozens of hopefuls line up in Vancouver to audition for Bollywood reality TV show (w/ video, gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Sangeeta Dham has been watching Bollywood movies for as long as she can remember.

So when the diehard fan found out auditions for Omni TV’s premier season of Bollywood Star — a reality series searching for Bollywood’s next big actor — were only going to be in Vancouver and Toronto, she knew she had to make the nearly 1,000 kilometre trek from her Calgary home to Vancouver for the Saturday morning auditions.

A crowd of hopefuls line up to audition for a role on Omni TV’s latest reality show, Bollywood Star at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Nick Procaylo/PNG

“I am a big Bollywood fan, been watching Bollywood since I was a little girl,” Dham, decked out in a bright blue and pink authentic Indian dress, told Vancouver Desi as she waited in line to audition outside the Vancouver Convention Centre. “I love the fact that when you watch Bollywood it just takes you to another world and I want to be part of that world.”

After the two rounds of auditions — Toronto’s taking place next Saturday — the reality show will narrow down the hopeful Canadian stars to 16 contestants who will ultimately compete for the top prize: a trip to Mumbai to play a role in a Bollywood film.

“It would mean the world to me (to be a Bollywood star),” said Dham.” I’ve been passionate about this, like I said, since I was little, so it would be a dream come true.”

Dham was one of about 100 nervous and excited hopefuls who came out for Saturday’s auditions dressed in their Bollywood best. Contestants were asked to act out a scene as well as perform a one-minute dance routine. While many auditioners went over their routines and warmed up their vocal chords as they anxiously waited in line, Dham was calm and collected, only occassionally touching up her makeup.

“I’ve done my preparation,” she said confidently, adding that she’s got experience singing, dancing and acting.

Surrey’s Bhumika Khanna was also well-prepared for the occasion, banking on her experience with Vancouver’s Shiamak Davar Dance Team, which included a stint as a background dancer at April’s Times of India Film Awards.

“I love Bollywood,” the hopeful star said. “I’ve grown up watching all the Bollywood movies, I love the acting, I love the drama, I love everything about it.”

Confidence like Dham and Khanna’s is exactly what the Bollywood Star judges were looking for.

“People who are going to come in and really kind of own that room,” said one of the three judges, Rupinder Nagra, an Indo-Canadian actor from critically acclaimed film Amal.

Other two judges include Anita Majumdar, award-winning actress, playwright and dancer from Port Moody and Richie Mehta, Canadian filmmaker whose movie Amal has earned more than 30 international awards. The Toronto auditions take place Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Toronto Congress Centre.

For more audition information visit omnitv.ca/bollywoodstar.



Picture 1 of 6

Karima Essa and Navshin Chatur line up to audition for a role on Omni TV's latest reality show, Bollywood Star at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Nick Procaylo/PNG

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