While Bollywood is witnessing number of actors crossing over to Hollywood with interesting assignments (most recent being Irrfan Khan whose The Mighty Heart with Angelina Jolie released recently), even America is looking at artist exports to Bollywood. Melanie Kannokada, reigning Miss India America, is one of them. A Stanford University graduate, she has studied Engineering and was active in dancing, entrepreneurship, and student government.On being asked about what brings her to Bollywood, Melanie says, "I love the elements of Indian Cinema – and can see myself being part of this magical and powerful genre. At the same time, Bollywood is not necessarily the end goal. It's about growing as an artist and creating meaningful work, whether that's here or abroad. In terms of Bollywood – if the right opportunity comes along, it would be hard to pass up!" Melanie's favorite stars are Kajol, Madhuri Dixit and Saif Ali Khan while Life is Beautiful, Amelie, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Fanaa are the films that top her list. While acting is obviously what interests her most, she also loves to dance, do modeling, listen to all types of music and has an eye for entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability!
Melanie loves Indian cinema. She confesses, "I absolutely love Indian Cinema – the music, the dance, the emotion, the cinematography. Music and dance have always been a huge part of me, so I can't get enough of Bollywood films." Still, she isn't into stereotypes and rather looks at being a part of an interesting cinema. And adds, “If we look at the Hollywood market, now is a good time for South Asian talent to break into mainstream media as more roles are opening up for us. The challenge, however, is finding roles that shy away from the common stereotypes we've seen for quite some time."
Currently, she is in the discussion with two Indian American directors regarding both their offers for a film shooting in 2008. Melanie has also been noticed for her work as an Indian TV Host. She produces and hosts two shows with Sahara One TV and has had many other offers from the other major Indian TV networks. Also, Asia TV is one of the major networks who are very much interested in stealing her away.
Modeling is also a way of life for her. She has been doing a huge deal of fashion shows and print work, both for Indian and non-Indian designers. She recently did a major fashion show for Payal Singhal in New York City. Also, she came up with a dance performance at Madame Tussauds for the public debut of Aishwarya's wax figure.