I was determined to show everyone that I can be a Producer – Shachi
Shachi Sharma made her debut as a Producer with Time Out, an unconventional youth film that is garnering rave reviews. In a candid chat with Pandolin, the young producer talks about the film, grabbing opportunities as they come, challenges of producing this film and more.
How did you get on board Time Out?
A couple of years ago I’d gone to visit a friend in London who put me in touch with Rikhil Bahadur (Director). In 2012, Rikhil had made a short film called Time Out that went to various film festivals and landed up at Cannes. A lot of people told Rikhil that this is a story that needs to be made into a feature film. So, he started writing the script for the feature. I too saw the short film and loved it. So I came on board the feature film as a script supervisor. Once the script was written, we pitched it around but everyone rejected it saying “You’ll are too young; you’ll can’t make this film”. Eventually we got to meet the CEO of Viacom and he loved the story. But at the end of the meeting we found out that Viacom will only be the financier and not produce the movie. They asked us if we had our own production company and though we didn’t have one, we said ‘yes’. We didn’t want to lose out on the opportunity of being backed by Viacom so we went ahead and ultimately formed our company. That is how I came on board as the producer.
What convinced you to be the producer?
Sitting in front of the CEO of Viacom, I knew that this was an opportunity that could not be missed. Honestly I never thought that I’ll be a producer; I did not even know what a producer does. We always hear about directors and actors and what they do in a movie but no one knows what a producer does. I had no idea about what is to be done on a set. But it was a chance that could change my life so I did whatever I could to grab it. Also, if you look at teen movies in Hindi cinema, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar is the only film that has managed to remain fresh, till date. Most other teen movies look forced and I can’t connect to any of them. But our film talks about the youth, connects with them and in a way is made by the youth. This has happened after a long time, so that too played a huge role in convincing me to come on board.
What did you have in mind regarding the cast of the film?
Rikhil was very particular about the cast. As per the story, the elder brother plays basketball and the younger brother is a musician. There is another girl who is a drummer so Rikhil wanted people who could fit into the roles. In our movies, generally, if you see an actor playing a guitar, the actor is playing something while the actual chords are different. Rikhil did not want such a thing to happen in this film. We spent over a year in putting together the cast. We found actors who could play the instruments live. Chirag Malhotra who plays the younger brother actually learnt to play the guitar while the elder brother, Pranay Pachauri, is a basketball player in real life too. So we paid a lot of attention to get the right cast.
What was the most challenging aspect of being the Producer of this film?
Everything about being a producer is challenging, especially for me, because I was barely 24 years old when we started the movie. I was training to be a script writer, and had never actively been on a film set. I had never even assisted on a film and suddenly being the producer was exhilarating but equally difficult. I tried to get help from other producers from the industry and got a very good response from most of them. But there was this one producer who said, “You’re a girl, you’ll get eaten in the film industry. You cannot do this.” But I took it up as a challenge and was determined to show everyone that I can be a Producer and make this film. Our crew members had worked on several films and were more experienced that me. I had to learn on the set. Being the youngest of the lot and being the boss was the most challenging part for me as producer.
And what part of being Producer did you love the most?
The fact that it keeps you on your toes! I actually learnt the working of the industry while working on this film. This learning has been one of the best experiences of my life; something that will always stay with me.
Tell us about your upcoming ventures.
I am currently working on the biopic of Pullela Gopichand, the badminton star of our country. When I started my career I had the opportunity of working on Gopichand’s biography that was released by Aamir Khan in 2011. That is the current focus. Besides that let’s see where life takes us.