Friday, 14 December 2012

From Paris to Bollywood

The glamour, glitz, fame and moolah of Bollywood lure many to Mumbai to try their luck in the film industry. People from across the country, from big cities to the countryside; come to Mumbai with the dream of becoming a superstar. Some are spurred by passion, others attracted by its glamour. Those driven by the glamour and other ulterior motives find the struggle too hard; while those driven by passion keep trying to live their dreams. In the end only some succeed to achieve what they came for. Discovering Mumbai features Christie Bourcq, a French national and a passionate actor-dancer who flew down from Paris to take plunge in Bollywood. This is about her journey from Paris to Bollywood!
Christie Bourcq

Christie Bourcq was born in France’s beautiful countryside and later moved to Paris to pursue education in English literature; she also holds an MA in Cultural Management. India has been part of her life since birth as her mother is Tamilian born in Pondicherry. “I have always been very close to my Indian side”, says Christie. It was also her mother who helped her develop an interest in arts and culture, by pushing her to attend piano, dance and drama classes during vacations. Dance and acting are her two passions and she is well versed in Indian classical dance forms like Odissi and Kathak; and also in Bollywood style. Christie has also spent a year in Delhi pursuing her education in literature.

In Paris, it all began when she auditioned for a dance company. Christie was very good in Indian dance forms and soon people began categorizing her as an Indian dancer. To break out of this mould she set up her own dance company in Paris. “I also learnt Salsa and Contemporary dance. I bring to dance my learning’s from both the French and Indian cultures” she says. Although most of the shows were based on Indian music, the dance troupe (Ekaiva) comprised of a mix of dancers, from people doing Classical indian dances and Bollywood to Hip Hop and even Flamenco. She also learnt acting  in a professional school while in Paris, and decided to fly straight to Mumbai as soon as she came out of acting school.

In an industry where newbies have to struggle a lot, Christie found luck favouring her. While looking for an apartment in Mumbai, she stumbled upon a manager who took her to Yash Raj for casting, and so began her journey. “There is a lot of competition in Bollywood”, says Christie, and she considers herself lucky to have found agencies who marketed her very hard. Her first break in Bollywood came in the form of a Hindi remake of Marathi movie ‘The Strugglers’ which goes into shooting from January next year. The movie chronicles the story of a bunch of strugglers from film industry. Christie will be playing the second lead lady in the movie. She is also on talk for another bollywood movie.

Being born to a mother from Tamilian background, she was always very attracted towards the Tamil film industry and she pushed her former manager to get her assignments from south. Soon she landed a few songs and small roles in Kollywood. She is in awe of Tamil movies, “Back in Paris my friend and I felt that the dance from South Indian movies was a bit exaggerated, but when I landed here I realized that it was all real. Those guys are superb dancers!” says Christie. She also highlights the difference between Bollywood and Kollywood; “In Kollywood people are ready to give you chance, they are interested only in your talent. They took a lot of time to test my acting and dancing skills”, she says. Her first Tamil movie ‘Un pear enna’ will be released this month and she is also working on another one, and on discussion for four more projects in kollywood.

Bollywood certainly is one of the toughest industries to break into, unless you belong to a family from within the industry. Competition is the biggest challenge one faces, “In Bollywood, there are  a few girls who are ready to compromise anything to land a role!” she says. Equally big is the threat from frauds posing as producers who approach women with motives other than casting them in a movie. Sometimes all of this gets too hard to handle. “There are times when you want to give it all up”, says Christie. But her passion for acting and the fact the she feels the happiest when on a set, keeps her going through such moments of despair. She says that with time and experience you learn to pick out the frauds, “They simply talk too much about themselves!” she exclaims.

Christie, being a dancer and actor herself, idolizes Madhuri Dixit and it is her dream to one day become just like her. She feels that her love for Bollywood and passion for acting will lead her there. Right now she is trying to focus more on the acting part by turning down quite a few offers for songs. She is pushing her managers to get her role in a horror film. “All girls coming to Bollywood want to do glamorous movies, but doing a horror movie is sort of a dream for me. Where else will I get the chance to kill a person!” says Christie. She is also working on building a dance show for Paris.

The journey through Bollywood has taught her valuable lessons. “People think that throwing attitude will help them in this industry, but it doesn’t work that way”, says Christie. She believes that it is her down to earth character that makes people want to work with her again. On the personal front she says that in this industry one should abstain from sharing their personal life with too many people, keeping your personal and professional life separate is of utmost importance. The journey so far has made her more mature than before. “I check everything before taking a decision or action, however, I am still the girl who laughs a lot!” she says.

For Christie it doesn’t matter where she works, Bollywood or Kollywood, all that matters is that at the end of the day she gets to act. “I need to dance or act to stay alive!” she says. As for the home of Bollywood i.e. Mumbai; she loves staying here and wants to live in Mumbai forever. "I want to thank people who have been helping me or have always believed in me like my family specially mum & dad, Brahms.D, Deva, and Rajesh from Mango and his team" says Christie, as we wrapped up the interview.

We hope that she will be able to make her dreams come true; after all, Bollywood is the place for dreamers.

You can read more about Christie on her Facebook page.