Avnish Mehra

Avnish Mehra

writer, director, actor

Avnish Mehra was born on Apr 11, 1989 in USA. Avnish Mehra's big-screen debut came with The Samurai of Strongsville, Ohio directed by Tara Von Baron in 2010.

Avnish Mehra was born in Lexington, Kentucky to Sangeeta (Vohra), a licensed clinical psychotherapist, and Dr. Munish Mehra PhD, a bio-statistician. Both his parents were born in India but his mother moved to England at a young age, where she lived until marriage. His father attended the prestigious Doon School in Dehradun, India then completed his MS in Mathematics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kanpur before emigrating to the United States to complete his MS in Computer Science and a PhD in bio-statistics from the University of Kentucky. His mother received her Masters in Clinical Counseling from Johns Hopkins University in 2009. Mehra credits his love for academia to his parents, who instilled in him a deep thirst for knowledge at a young age.While living in Lexington, Mehra began performing for school events as a student at the Community Montessori School. When he was just eight years old, his family moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland. With the move, his parents decided that the open-ended nature of the Montessori education was not well-suited to his style of learning so they enrolled him in the Montgomery County Public Schools system where he attended Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Ridgeview Middle School, and Quince Orchard High School.Mehra continued dancing in elementary school and then joined the theatre program once he entered middle school. From sixth through twelfth grade, he performed in every school play and musical, becoming well-known for his uncanny ability to perform unique character roles. His favorite parts include Oliver Warbucks in Annie Jr, Peter Pan in the play of the same name, and Milky White the Cow in Into the Woods.By the time he reached high school, Mehra knew that he wanted to pursue a career in entertainment, but while applying for colleges he decided to study film direction as he thought there would be more for him to learn in the field. He had frequently made videos for school which he wrote, edited, and directed but as he was self-taught he had had no formal training.After being rejected from his top choice university, Mehra decided on a whim to move to Mumbai, India at the age of eighteen to take a course in film direction at Subhash Ghai's Whistling Woods International. Mehra studied screenwriting under Anjum Rajabali, acting for directors under Naseeruddin Shah, and film direction under Somnath Sen. Despite the impressive faculty, the course was not exactly what he expected, so he dropped out after a year to live in Mumbai on and off for the next seven years working as an actor, voice-over artist, writer, director, editor, and animator in the Indian entertainment industry.His big break came from the play Boiled Beans on Toast, written by Girish Karnad and directed by the acclaimed film, television, and theatre actress Lillete Dubey. While touring for the play, he made his feature film debut with a cameo performance in the Gujarati film Happy Familyy Pvt Ltd (2013)By the time he was 26, Mehra became disillusioned with the industry so he moved back to the United States to restart his formal education. He received his Associate's Degree in Business from Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, then transferred in the fall of 2017 to Columbia University in New York City to complete his undergraduate degree. Originally Mehra planned to pursue a degree in Film and Media Studies but after his first semester at Columbia, Mehra realized that rather than studying more about film, a subject which he was already well-versed in, his academic journey would be better suited to learning about the material which would help him become a better and more informed screenwriter.As a result, Mehra switched his major to Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (with a particular focus in South Asia) and he graduated with his Bachelor's Degree in Spring of 2020. From the fall of 2020 he began a Masters Degree in South Asian Studies from Columbia University and he will graduate in the Spring of 2022. His Masters thesis analyzes the changing face of Indian storytelling, especially in the last seven years with the introduction of over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms.

  • Birthday

    Apr 11, 1989
  • Place of Birth

    Lexington, Kentucky, USA

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