Could you tell us a little about your background and how you broke into the industry?
I have no professional background in movie making; in fact I did Hotel Management and then got an MBA. Films were something I always fancied and as a kid I loved to tell stories. This storytelling passion gave me the courage to quit my corporate life and pursue my dreams.
Having never assisted anyone before, how would you describe your journey?
I haven’t been on a film set before Tutiya Dil but I guess the guy who made the very first film had no one to follow either. I believe that there are no norms in a creative space and in fact breaking them creates history. I would describe my journey as a hopeful learning experience driven by faith in myself. The fact that it has materialized into a feature film makes it a rewarding one. It hasn’t been too easy but I guess if it was then I wouldn’t value it as much.
What are you major influences in life?
I guess life itself has been the primary influence; people and situations excite me and through these moments I create and visualize something bigger and entertaining.
Is there any particular style of work or people from the industry whom you admire?
I love Bollywood; in fact all the films made by Mr. Rajkumar Hirani and Mr. Imtiaz Ali have been delightful and are great works of cinema. I look up to directors like Mr. Vishal Bhardwaj, Sri Ram Raghawan and Mr. Karan Johar.
Being one of the youngest directors in the industry, what are the challenges that you have faced? Do you have to make compromises on a creative level?
Age is never a hindrance but yes, being young and not having a “Filmy” background could have teething problems. Fortunately, the industry today accepts youth with open arms but on the other hand the problem is when we have to stick to certain formulas, which could be de-moralizing. Nonetheless it’s not a bed of roses everywhere and yes, every rose has its thorn, mine included, but I still like it.
How was your experience while working for the movie, Tutiya Dil?
Tutiya Dil has been a beautiful experience that I am extremely happy to have been through. I’ve had a ball! Working with 35 debutantes does make you stronger and clearer with your thoughts and at the same time you have fun and connect on a creative level. Shooting the film was a joy ride where the average age of the members on the set was just 24 yrs. It did call for me to be a taskmaster but nonetheless in 3 words it was fun, fun and fun.
Could you share a major factor responsible for creating this film?
I guess one major factor that went in was hard work from each and every person and the desire to do better and better. A major incident that strikes me was when we had planned a top angle shot and my DOP, Shweta Chanda, was standing at the location whilst I was sitting next to her. I got an intuition, which made me move, and just then our set roof came down. Shweta hurt her shoulder but no major accident occurred. We were in a state of shock but God was with us and today we just smile about it.
How was your dynamic between the Cinematographer and other HOD’S?
I was fortunate to work with Shweta Chanda in this movie. Besides being a close friend she is a brilliant Cinematographer and a girl with solid guts. Her hand held shots can put any steady cam operator to shame and her understanding of the script caught me off guard on more than a number of occasions. The two of us had a code language, which had the unit guessing all the time. Like wise it was fun working with all the others as well.
What approach did you follow while filming Tutiya Dil?
The only approach was to follow the gut and go by it. We planned everything way in advance but came up with something unique every time we were on set. I wanted to keep this film as real and relatable as it could be and I just looked into the immediate environment to get it going.
Are there any projects that you are currently working on?
Well there are 2 movies in the pipeline, a psychological thriller – Andheri West, and a rib tickling mad comedy that is still untitled.