January 25, 2023
Anita Verma-Lallian’s daughter, who’s 11, loves to act. “She’s been doing theater since she was about 5 years old. Now she’s 11, and she’s gotten better, she’s getting lead roles.” But one thing kept frustrating Verma-Lallian. “I’ve seen, even at her level, there are certain roles given to certain kids just based on how they look.” She rued how her daughter wasn’t cast as Matilda in a play because she didn’t look like a Matilda.
So Verma-Lallian met up with actor Nik Dodani, who had also grown up in Arizona, who pointed out that it’s still hard in Hollywood for South Asians. “He planted the seed in my head that we could actually invest in our own movies, and we could fund movies featuring South Asians and try to make a difference.” Lawyer Nick Pujji, who worked with her on her real estate fund, connected her to Lilly Singh’s team, with whom they’re currently negotiating projects. The rest is history, as they say. Camelback Ventures — an evergreen, roughly $10 million fund to back film and TV projects with South Asian cast and crew — is now in business. Its goal? To use much of what the Verma-Lallian has learned from Arizona real estate to change film and TV investing in Hollywood.