Director of Spooks and Life on Mars comes to Bournemouth University

Posted on Thursday, October 4 2012

Top director Bharat Nalluri told students at Bournemouth University to network and “be bold” if they want to break into the film and TV industry.

Bharat, who directed the first episodes of Spooks, Life on Mars and helped to create BBC conman drama Hustle, gave a guest lecture to students from across the university’s Media School on Wednesday.

He admitted he had done things “backwards” – completing a Master’s degree in film after setting up his own production company – but said that doing a degree was increasingly important.

“I didn’t know that you could do a degree but I do think it is really important, especially with the way degrees are structured now,” he said.

“Things like people from the industry coming in to talk to students really helps, as the more you know the better.”

He added: “The courses here at Bournemouth are great.

“I have had a few ex-students coming to work with me at production companies like Kudos and I have seen the quality of the people coming out.

“I wanted to see if I could come and help and I find it really exciting as well – they are all so enthusiastic.”

Bharat made his first film, Killing Time, in 1996 and then went to the US to direct horror film The Crow: Salvation.

He then returned to the UK to direct the first episodes of BBC drama Spooks – introducing concepts like split-screens and fast paced editing.

“At that point it was a very low-key project and what I brought into it was an American element,” he said.

“We added much more speed and energy than there was originally going to be.

“It was very glossy and cinematic. It linked this glamorous lifestyle with stories that were always in the headlines.”

Other high-profile projects Bharat has directed include HBO drama Tsunami: The Aftermath – which starred Tim Roth and Sophie Okonado – and feature film Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day.

He is currently working on US TV show Emily Owens, M.D. which stars Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer in the title role.

Bharat said: “There is a bit of luck, but you need to be bold.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get. You can be creative and, if you really want to do well, then it helps to understand all the different areas – but especially writing and editing.”

He added that networking was key, and friends he had when first starting out in the business had helped and supported him along the way.

“I look back at my closest friends and all of us started in the industry together and we all helped each other along the way,” he said.

“It is incredibly important to build those relationships, because this industry is all about networking.”