Touted as a ‘piece of art from our capital (New Delhi) where the theatre and acting scene is commendable’, the action drama Narayan follows a father’s quest from an overweight middle class man to a ruthless MMA fighter. The film is helmed by Delhi based filmmaker Jogesh Sehdeva.

Through Narayan, the multi-faceted director, who is also making his debut as a producer and actor with this film, intends to showcase a lesser known side of New Delhi. In a chat with Pandolin, Jogesh talks about his journey as a filmmaker, the hurdles he faced and what lies ahead for Narayan.

Tell us about your roots and your early days. When did you decide to become a filmmaker? How would you describe your journey?

As I began to picture my career in my early student life, I aspired to become an actor and worked towards it. I started acting and modeling, doing theatre at a young age and eventually moved to Mumbai.

One of my few achievements included being a finalist at Grasim Mr. India (1997-98). Unfortunately, luck did not work in my favor and due to family responsibilities, I had to move back to Delhi after struggling for 2 years. However, that did not stop me for believing in myself and I made sure that I worked hard to make a mark for myself.

I started again in Delhi as a businessman and achieved success in a short span of time, which got me hooked for 15 years straight. But the zeal to become a filmmaker and an actor never died and I continued working towards it too, as I was a regular theatre actor back in Delhi.

During my theatre stint, I came across a couple of talented people who did not get the chance of moving to Mumbai for work due to various circumstances and I instantly connected with them, and decided to give them a platform.

Narayan, your debut directorial, seems to be a promising story. You have also produced and acted in the film. How challenging was it to juggle all these roles? What was the process like?

Narayan is a tale which is not much talked about however prevalent it is in Delhi and the other metros, where family ties are weak and the younger generation is inclined towards drugs and intoxicating activities.

The film is an amalgamation of the two topics, which eventually are interrelated. I have included some first hand experiences that I have seen around my circle and the set of people I know. I had complete confidence that the script holds a critical and commercial value and if directed well enough, it can become a good product in which I was prepared to invest.

Before finalizing myself for Narayan‘s character, I auditioned a number of actors in Delhi but couldn’t find the zeal and commitment that the character required as the film shows a transformation journey from fat to fit, which required a genuine dedication.

Upon contemplation, I figured I had the same issues of body fat, high blood pressure, Thyroid & Diabetes. I realized I would be the perfect fit for it and inspired by the character’s journey, I decided to give it a shot and prepared myself for the role.

Being the director, producer and actor simultaneously became easier as the crew took it really positively and it felt like home on the sets. I was elated to work with the whole crew and they made my journey as a director pretty easy.

Also Read: Learnings of a Debutant Filmmaker

The film saw you change your body from fat to fit. Tell us about your method and how did you go about shooting the two looks.

The journey from fat to fit required a good amount of dedication and time, but we had a short duration for the same. Yet we decided not to use any chemical or artificial shortcuts and keep it as real and natural as possible.

I don’t from a sports background and to achieve a physique like that, with no knowledge of boxing, seemed difficult. However we had some great professionals on board and we made it happen.

My day would begin with boxing and martial arts training followed by hardcore strength training in the evening. I followed an extremely strict diet for a couple of months, which is half the reason for this achievement today.

For an independent filmmaker, how hard was it to find funding and ultimately secure a theatrical release?

When I began, I knew it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, I figured there will be a lot of hurdles and a number of difficult battles; however I was very determined and that motivated me towards my goal.

The team I chose to work with was a professional one, but they weren’t industry level professionals which became a task. More than just playing the lead actor and the director and producer, I have done almost every job on the set, from a spot boy to a light man and so on.

What is next in the pipeline for you?

I am working on a couple of scripts however I’m not in a rush as of now. I will figure it after I am done with Narayan.