The incidents of dreamers being taken for a ride in the midst of their pursuit of a film career are innumerable. However, here is the story of a boy to whom the tinsel town came beckoning and even took him to Las Vegas, to participate in the ‘Sundance Film Festival’.
Venkatesh Chowhan (20) from Attikatti tanda, Mundaragi taluk, is the lucky small town boy to act in an English film — The Pool, directed by Chris Smith. The film also has Nana Patekar, Ayesha Mohan of Black Friday fame and another 12 year old boy — Jehangir Basha from Shirahatti.
Venkatesh’s parents went in search of work to Goa ten years ago. Venkatesh was helping his parents in their ‘modka’ shop, selling scrap.
In Januray 2006, when he was roaming on the streets of Vasco, a foreigner met him and introduced himself as Chris Smith and asked him to act in his film. Venkatesh took his parents’ permission and agreed.
The movie was shot in Goa and Chandagad of Maharashtra, for six months. His mother and sister were asked to play the role of his mother and sister in the film also. He thought it was a documentary.
He was paid Rs 60,000 by producer Kate Noble for the movie. He was then asked to go USA along with Jehangir because the film was selected to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival.
Chris Smith and Kate Noble took care of their tickets, visa and made all other arrangements at Milvoki. Venkatesh and Jehangir stayed with Chris Smith at his residence. They participated in the Sundance Festival and later visited New York, Las Vegas, Los Angles, Disney Land and Hollywood.
Venkatesh Chowan’s father Seethappa died after Venkatesh returned. On being informed about it, the producers sent him Rs 50,000.
Chris and Kate got Venkatesh and Jehangir admitted to Don Bosco school at Vasco. They will also bear all the expenses for their education. Venkatesh can now speak a little bit of English and wants to study.
Films are not his priority now though directors Ramgopal Verma and Anurag Basu had also offered him roles in their films.