Introducing a new face as the lead actor in a movie in the star-studded Bollywood industry is a challenge for any producer and director. It is a great challenge for debutant actors to break the monopoly of existing super stars in the industry to make a mark in their very first appearance. Directed by Habib Faisal and produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films, the movie 'Ishaqzaade' was one such challenging experiment in Bollywood with two debutants in leading roles ï¿½ Arjun Kapoor and Parneeti Chopra. In an Industry that releases more than 200 films every year, 'Ishaqzaade' received positive response from the critics, and managed to do very well at the box office. Kapoor worked as an assistant director and associate producer for several films before his first on-screen debut as the lead actor and was nominated for the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut for the role. Along with his talent for the craft and hard work, the credits also go to his alma mater Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT) for transforming his raw talent into on-screen brilliance.
Established in 1993, AAFT has huge number of alumni members like Arjun Kapoor, who are associated with various media organizations or are freelancing in their chosen field of creative work. Luv Ranjan (Director - 'Pyaar ka Punch Nama'), Mrigdeep Singh Lamba (Director - 'Fukrey'), Rajat Arora (Dialogue/Screenplay - 'Kick') and Meetu Singh (Director - 'Sarkar') are few names in the film industry while Kaushik Ghatak (Director - TV Serial 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi'), Raj Shekhar (Director - TV Serial 'Kahanni Ghar Ghar Ki') and Sandeep Kouchar (Program Presenter at Zee TV) are few popular television personalities in the AAFT alumni list. Sandeep Marwa, who is the founder of Noida Film City and Director of the AAFT for more than 22 years says, "Parents are now encouraging their children to take up media courses more than the traditional engineering and medical courses. However, not many media institutes in the country are giving practical training to the media aspirants and hence many come to our institution to gain practical knowledge."
Practical Class behind the Screens
The campus of the AAFT is situated in the heart of the sprawling 100 acre landscape of the Film City of Noida. The ultra modern facilitates on campus supplements 55 courses ranging from 3 months to 3 years under eight different schools, which include School of Cinema, Mass Communication, Fashion, Animation and Fine Arts, Advertising, Business, Management and Hotel and Tourism. In its journey of more than 22 years, the institute has trained and taught 10,500 media professionals hailing from 29 states, five union territories of India and 94 countries of the world. The major factor that helped AAFT to achieve these glorious figures is its faculty members, who are there with the institute from its inception. AAFT boasts of a faculty that is a mï¿½lange of great achievers, who shine through both in the knowledge of their subject and in the classroom.
Along with faculties, who are well qualified and proven in their creative fields, the institute invites people from the media fraternity to give students a real picture about the present scenarios. "Here, we invite people from movie, television and other media industries to share their real life stories with our students. It will give them good insights about the present industry," says Sandeep Marwa. However, there is no better teacher than life and no substitute to real-time work experience. Students of AAFT get lot of exposed to the intricate workings of the industry as the institute is a part of Noida film studio, which has 16 studios and 350 television channels being telecast to 162 countries 24x7 and an has employee strength of 17000 media professionals.
With enough opportunities to gain practical knowledge about the media industry, 100 percent placement has been a regular achievement for AAFT. However, unlike other industries, creative workers have more opportunities to work independently rather than working for a particular organization. Thus, many of the AAFT students pursue their interest without being committed any media houses. While the Indian media industry is growing swiftly with a turnover of almost Rs. 1 Lakh crore per year, the mindset of the industry has significantly changed from yesteryears. Talent was the only consideration 20 years ago. However, today the industry is looking for people who come with a combination of proper media education and talent. AAFT is one among the few institutes in India, which has been catering to this demand since its inception.
Sandeep Marwah is a well known International media persona with five World records to his credit. He is the founder of Noida Film City and is the founder director of Marwah Studios and Asian Academy of Film and Television. Sandeep Marwah is associated with 4500 television programs, 125 feature films and 5000 training films. He is the producer of largest number of short films in the World around 2300. He is recipient of more than 200 awards from all over the World for his contribution to films, television and media. He has headed more than 30 national and international media organizations.