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Indian Diaspora Making a Mark in Hollywood

By Sowmya Nandakumar

HOLLYWOOD: Ravi. D. Mehta, an American of Indian origin has made a name for himself in the expansive world of Hollywood on the production front of this distinct film industry.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) lists Mehta’s association with Hollywood since 1998, when he started out as a Production Accountant in the not so highly rated (by IMDB) film, Why do fools fall in love directed by Gregory Nava. Mehta’s first big break seems to have come three years later in 2001, when he worked as Production Accountant for Training Day, directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Denzel Washington.

In 2004 Mehta stepped up the ladder from being a Production Accountant to being an Executive in charge of Production, also known as the Executive Producer (EP), for Cinderella Story, directed by Mark Rosman. From 2004 until now, he has worked in that capacity for 19 films – some “not so highly rated” and some relatively better known projects.

Some of the films he was associated with were Lady in the Water by Manoj Night Shymalan (2006), and the more acclaimed The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford directed by Andrew Domink, starring Brad Pitt (2007).

In 2012, he has worked on three films two of which are still in the post-production stage – The Gangster Squad directed by Ruben Fleischer, (starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone and Sean Penn), and The Campaign directed by Jay Roach starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis (Galifianakis from The Hangover).

The third film he has worked on, The Lucky One, directed by Scott Hicks is scheduled for release on the 20th April 2012. In this film Mehta has been credited as the “Executive Producer”.

In Hollywood, an Executive Producer’s (EP) role is wide ranged – the EP represents a financial investor in the film project but is not directly involved in day to day production, more often than not, the EP is the person who finds and buys the literary property that a film is based on, (in this case, the film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks which was released in 2008), the EP also oversees the process of further developing the project by hiring other producers for the film and is responsible for the overall production.

The book came at a time when many American soldiers returned after serving in Iraq. Addressing this concern pertinent to American society, the story follows the life of US Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (played by Zac Efron in the film) as his destiny unfolds. He returns to North Carolina after a successful third stint in Iraq.  He believes that what kept him alive was a lucky charm he happened to have stumbled on, which is the photograph of a woman he does not know at all. He learns that her name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and sets out to find her. After finding her, it is a matter of persuading her of his love for her and convincing her that the universe meant for him to find her. The story will perhaps act as a good reminder that even amidst war and violence, one finds love, which is undoubtedly the more supremely reigning energy of the universe. The film will probably be the tale of war trauma given more meaning and purpose by the pursuit of a strange and mysterious love.

Ravi Mehta, in his film career, has clearly demonstrated that just as climbing the corporate ladder involves many years of immense hard work, several tedious steps and enormous amounts of perseverance and patience eventually leading to the top, so it is with the film industry, which has its own hierarchical structure. Rising from Production Accountant to the position of Executive Producer with 14 years of experience in various films says something about rising up the Hollywood ladder! Here’s wishing Ravi. D. Mehta all the success with The Lucky One and perhaps this will be the lucky film of his life taking him to greater heights.



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2 Responses to Indian Diaspora Making a Mark in Hollywood

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