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UK Actor Aims To Make History In Bollywood

richard lovatt
Source: Radar

Nov. 16 2022, Published 4:27 p.m. ET

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When UK-based personal trainer to the stars Richard John Lovatt began training Bollywood clients in 2014, he never imagined that it would catapult him into Bollywood roles of his own.

Even more surprising for him was the offer to play the starring role in a new Bollywood film, an achievement that would be a first for a foreigner and non-native Hindi speaker.

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uk actor aims to make history in bollywood
Source: Radar

The short documentary, Rich in Bollywood, directed by Nicolas Lévesque, chronicles Lovatt's journey from personal trainer to Bollywood star on the rise, which started with his first work trip to India.

"I got flown over there in 2014 to train an actor called Arjun Kapoor. I was his trainer for a long time to get him in shape for movies. And then I worked with many different actors around that time as well—2015, 2017, 2018– politicians, actors, celebrities, loads of different people."

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Where others may have struggled with the transition, Richard John Lovatt thrived. "I just immediately loved the place. After two weeks, I was like, 'I love India.'"

As time went by, Lovatt started to pick up on how the Bollywood industry was continuing to grow and evolve, and with those changes came opportunity. "I was in personal training, but I was in the middle of the film industry. And so it was this perfect scenario where I was on film sets with these clients, seeing how things were done, and it was fascinating to me."

During those years, Lovatt stepped out in front of the camera and landed several more minor Bollywood roles after attending over 100 auditions. "Because it wasn't my main income, I didn't stress about it. I just got in the routine that once you've done one and the casting agency knows about you, they have your details." He found that remaining neutral was the key to success. "The roles I always got were those I didn't care about."

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As his acting career picked up steam, Canadian director Nicolas Lévesque took notice. Lovatt says, "He just called me and said, 'Can we come to live with you? And can we follow you around?'" Lovatt agreed, and the product was the short documentary Rich in Bollywood.

For Lovatt, the response to the film was both surprising and amusing, "People are saying, 'How can you get random casting roll calls? It never happens to me.'" While the film may make it seem as though roles were landing in his lap, it certainly wasn't the case; there was so much going on behind the scenes that audiences aren't privy to in the film.

"You have to audition a lot. And you have to hone your skills. And then you have to go to these auditions and be better than everyone else."

His drive to continue to improve propelled Lovatt to learn Hindi, the national language of India. Once he started speaking Hindi, he realized a new world of opportunities was at his fingertips. Lovatt began creating Instagram and YouTube content, and his channels quickly grew a

following, racking up 50,000 followers seemingly overnight. "Gora means white guy or foreigner in Hindi. And everyone calls me Gora, so I put Gora Speaks Hindi as a title."

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richard lovatt
Source: Radar
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Lovatt knew that it was only a matter of time until Bollywood directors found him on social media, and when they did, he was ready. It wasn't long until he got a call from a casting agency looking to speak with the Gora Speaks Hindi star.

In a whirlwind audition trip, Lovatt flew to Mumbai, where he auditioned in Hindi and danced for his shot at the leading role in a brand new Bollywood film. The director offered him the part on the spot, a previously unheard-of achievement for a foreigner and non-native Hindi speaker.

While the film was initially scheduled to begin shooting in 2020, production has faced countless setbacks due to Covid. The project is currently on hold, but if it moves forward, it will mark a significant milestone, the first time a foreign actor would play a leading role in speaking Hindi in a Bollywood film.

Richard John Lovatt remains incredibly optimistic. "That was the type of role I was waiting for. It will still happen."

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