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AR Rahman Is Ambassador to BAFTA’s Breakthrough India Initiative

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has appointed music composer AR Rahman as the BAFTA Breakthrough India 2020-2021 ambassador.


The Breakthrough India 2020-21 initiative will showcase five talents in the fields of film, games, and television for a one-year long mentorship and guidance program. Following this, candidates will receive one-to-one mentoring, global networking opportunities, free access to BAFTA events and screenings for 12 months, as well as full BAFTA membership.

The initiative has been running in the UK since 2013 and in China since 2019, but this marks its first time in India. The jury members for this year’s Breakthrough India are yet to be announced.

Rahman said in a press release, “This is a unique opportunity for promising artists to be supported by a world-renowned organisation, to not only make connections with other talented creatives across the world but to be mentored by BAFTA-winners and nominees. I am looking forward to seeing the brilliant talent chosen from India to be showcased on a global stage.”

In an interview with Scroll, Rahman further said that he would be looking for artists who had already completed a couple of projects with established institutions. He said that a lot of great artists never “went beyond” because they didn’t get the right opportunity. According to Rahman, with the right guidance, “they will be better artists and in turn spread our philosophy and culture.”

BAFTA Chief Executive Amanda Berry said, “…[Rahman is] an industry leader in his creative work and someone who shares our passion for identifying and nurturing new talent.  He is well-positioned to support the initiative, with his broad spectrum of work drawing recognition across Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu films, which will help BAFTA to appeal to a wide section of the industry.”


BAFTA tweeted out a call for applications along with a video of Rahman saying, “There is an inherent quest within us which wants to see what other cultures, what good they’re doing, how beautiful they are. So, I think movies give away those windows for people to see the greatness of humanity.” Rahman also shared a few of his film recommendations, including the Telugu film Sankarabharanam (1980), The Sound of Music (1965), and Deepak Mehta’s Fire (1996).

Streaming giant Netflix is the supporting partner for BAFTA for this initiative in the UK, USA, and India.

The deadline for sending in the applications is 5 pm, January 25, 2021. For more information, visit