How It All Started
n late-1999 when I was looking after IT for Disney in the middle east, I decided to take a sabbatical year off and wrote my first feature film. With absolutely no experience in any film Industry, I set off to Mumbai and began knocking on doors, thanks to help from friends like Debjani Ghosh and George Darley-Doran. I sold a very cool version of the film to a someone whose father was an incredibly respected filmmaker in Mumbai. It unfortunately it got made into a version created by powerful names yet lacking balls to see a fresh script. I got paid for the gig, more importantly got a footing into the door of commercial cinema and somewhere within the bastard-ization of the script, I lost credits as the writer and shared (yeap, strange) credit for story with people who I can only say contributed to raping a simple love story.
Stepping into the Big B World
It was during that time that I met the wonderful Ashu Trikha, who as per life’s plans was destined to become a good friend and has been ever since. He is also my go-to person for technical advise. Ashu and I met always when I visited Mumbai and we shared great moments wherein he shared all the work he was involved in with, and I shared the ideas that I had!! On one such occasion he asked me to write something for him and I did. The result was my first Bollywood film, wherein I got credited for what I had worked upon. The film – ALAG, premiered at the prestigious IIFA in 2006 in Dubai and with that I was a published Bollywood scriptwriter and made it onto IMDB.
Big Stories In Short Takes
Soon after that, and as I was back in my full time nerdy IT job back with Disney in Dubai, I started focusing on films that I wanted to be associated with, i.e. something that had a connection with my Uncultured agenda. I ended up writing, directing and co-producing two short films Bin Moksh and The Messenger. Both of which did brief rounds at some not-so-well-known film festivals. Infact, The Messenger even won the best short film (under 20mins) at a film festival in South Africa.
The Big Moment
Things took a major jump in 2009 when I was approached to do something that really wasn’t my forte. I was asked to produce a short film and instead of just saying a straight NO, I decided to listen and then knew I was going to say no. I listened, I watched a kinda rough clip of what was on the table and ended up telling the young man who approached me that ‘I would sell my house if I have to, but this film needs to be made’. The film was a very strong human story and needed a producer to come on board with some cash to manage expenses. On board were co-producers such as the prestigious Whistling Wood International film school (rated amongst the top film schools in the world), Pixion, Fuji film India and Filmaka. The film USS DIN got made and not many film festivals wanted to touch it, perhaps coz they lacked the balls to showcase the political human story. The film premiered at the ARTIVIST film festival in 2010 and about a year later, the Times Of India listed it amongst the top 10 short films made by Indian film makers. I am proud even today, to have been the person to produce that film. Watch the USS DIN teaser here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4gBR2-MK28
A GOD OF SINNERS
It was thanks to that time and experience that I met a lot of young film makers, who then came together in 2012 and that resulted in me making my first professional short film. A GOD OS SINNERS(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2233048/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1) is the darkest film I have ever made but the message got out loud and clear, leaving literally everyone who watched it to realize how things can go wrong. We got a honorary mention for our cast ensemble at the Asians On Film festival in LA in the same year. We showcased at Cannes in 2013!!! Watch these teaser here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHWIDkp2iB8 and the entire film here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwC9pBMb9ug
The film showcased at a number of film festivals across the world, which was a major high.The highest was when the prestigious AIESEC students union invited me to South Africa in Oct 2012 wherein I showcased the film to a bunch of youth and then spoke about peace and tolerance in the world.
ALIVE was my first film after I moved to Singapor It was a remake of the first short film I ever directed. It also happens to be the first film I directed seated on a wheel chair.
On The Horizon
As of 2019, I have this on my plate:-
- Directing a film called BLINK, shot and produced entirely in Singapore. it is also the first movie that I am dircting that I have not written.
- Possibly directing another short film as part of an anthology. To be shot and produced in Singapore too. This one will be my story and direction but produced by someone else
- Working on my have-to-do short film called The Forgiveness, which will see the reniun of most of my A God Of Sinners crew. This will be done in Mumbai.
- Working finally on my first feature film to be written and directed by me. will be shot entirely in Singapore with post production doe in Singapore and India. Am looking for a crowd-funding initiative here though a local production house might come on board.
- a six-part web series with . my buddies Ashokan and Anser, focused on addressing issues that everyday fathers want to discuss
- And finally, after 12 years I finally could be writing a feature film to be made in Mumbai. I am merely the writer.
This journey continues. Am always going to take real life and interpret it on reel life.