As a child, I was always caught up in my world of imagination, I would often day-dream and time kept passing. Specially, as exams came closer, my imagination became stronger. Day-dreaming was always a better option. With certain turn of events, my family shifted to Hadapsar (a small town) during my 7th Std, located near my village Uruli Kanchan (I like to call it UK).
I was blessed with access to Internet Cafes nearby. Going secretly to these cafes spending all my pocket money and surfing was my second life (product of my generation will echo with this sentiment). I never liked the guy who owned that place, but hell, who gives a shit. I started learning about how movies are made. Most importantly, I was fascinated by the art of animation. I started to look how animated movies were made. Given that I was crazy about being an animator from the time I was in Class 5th. The curiosity took it’s toll by the time I reached Class 10th.
By then, we got our first ever computer home. My next big blessing. Now instead of screwing up other people’s computer, I started experimenting on ours. I downloaded animation related software, and started learning how to use it from online tutorials. Later I realized, the animation schools in India sucked. They still do.
The next best option was going abroad for higher studies in animation. But that was not possible for a middle-class kid. My dad was disappointed for the fact that I couldn’t make it to an animation school abroad.
But hey, I had PLAN B. Why not start my own business, earn money and produce a film myself later. I remember saying this to my father. By then, I might even figure out how to make films.
Fast forward 2 years later, I ended up taking admission for BBA (Bachelor in Business Administration) from BMCC. During my years in college, getting selected for Jagriti Yatra was a great-great opportunity. I met mentors and got a network which I value even today.
Near the end of my college life, I got my first client through a reference (yes, that’s the only way businesses work, through reference) of Yatish Lalwani, a great friend (and also a fellow yatri) who mentored me through my understanding of business. That’s when I started my work.
I started as a graphic designer. Did identity development for quite a few good clients. My understanding for branding proved advantageous later on. Being a designer served me big-time for my filmmaking career. I self-taught all the basics of designing over the internet. And beyond that, I had to learn the philosophy of design.
That’s what I learned subconsciously from my father. To do great work, knowing the tools is not enough, but knowing the philosophy behind that work is of greatest importance. I haven’t seen a ‘tailor’ till date who can match the consistency & quality of clothing that my father could deliver.
My innate love for the art of filmmaking had never died. Somehow, I started getting work for editing videos.
It’s a funny story about how I landed my first edit project. A client wanted this video edited, which seemed pretty simple and he was paying a good amount for that job. The problem was I did not know how to edit and badly needed that money. I just accepted the job, gave him an extended deadline.
Rushing back to my cot-basis PG, I borrowed a laptop from my room-mate, grounded myself for 3 days and started looking out for tutorials on how to edit. By day 4 I was a pro.
It’s crazy how film schools charge hefty amounts to teach something for 6 months which we could learn within a week over the internet. I edited that video within an hour and the money was mine.
But that is not important. There are a million people better than me. It is all about the philosophy of the work that you do. It’s all about why to do it and when to do it.
People liked my work, and referred to their friends. I was surprised, it was just simple editing. Turned out not everyone could do it with a right touch. Good for me.
By the beginning of 2013, we had our own small setup. I shifted from cot-basis to a small office. The concept of entrepreneurship that would create a greater impact on the world had taken deep roots in me Post-Jagriti Yatra.
And so I got work that had the potential of creating greater impact. With reference from a yatra friend, Yatish Lalwani, we got a deal to make skill development films for CREDAI’s NSDC fueled project “KUSHAL” that created almost 20,000 skilled construction workers through training films that we had made.
In July 2013, I read a blog written by one of the Yatri, Manjit Nath, also my ‘worst-case-scenario’ mentor. He was the ‘Facilitator’ of our group. The blog — “From Agia to Oxford” — told a story about his childhood. How the extremism in Assam influenced him and his friends to join a militant outfit known as ULFA. It was such a strong story and we knew the story had to be told. It was time my long living dream of directing a movie had to come forth.
A month later we ended up in Assam with all the money we saved in last few years to make this film. And by the time the shoot was done, we had exhausted all the funds, adding to it some generous contributions from the villagers as well.
It was a hell of an experience. An adventure not even my old age would allow fading away. Working with actors like Adil Hussain (from Life-of-Pie Fame) and one of the wisest man I have come across Sukracharya Rabha, there is so much to learn.
We launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to complete this film based on the life of this Yatri (Manjit Nath) and then two of these communities closest to me (Jagriti Yatra & TheRodinhoods) took it on their shoulders to make it a success.
Manjit’s friend Himjyoti Talukdar, introduced me to the very talented musician Anurag Saika who did a marvelous job for the film and Anurag in turn introduced the film to Amrit Pritam, one of the bestest Sound Designers in the industry.
This post is a reminder to myself, that the world is very small place. What goes around; always comes around. The experience has made me humbler. Made me realise that I could share too.
The What Ifs…
It has made me wonder the “What if’s” of possibilities.
What if Shashank Mani never thought of re-establishing this concept of Yatra?
What if Alok Kejriwal would have been busy concentrating on making games instead of sharing his wisdom and inspiring countless others, including me to share with the world.
What if,Yatish, my friend & guide would have never met me on the train?
I think that’s how karma works, mysteriously in it’s long chain of events connecting people and getting them to act.
Infact, I would also credit those who never met me or left this world long before I came in. Unknowingly, their thoughts and action have had an impact on my life. The list of people that we all can be grateful for never ends.
Turns out, my PLAN B kind of worked out. Or at least, it’s the beginning. The point is to keep acting. Hopefully, by becoming helpful to someone else and keep the engine of ‘mass karma’ running in the right direction.
Let me end with one of my favourite quotes from Rocky which has always kept me fueled in the worst of scenarios,
“It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit & keep moving forward. It’s about how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
And let me assure you that’s how movies are made too.
That crazy looking guy in photos is yours truly, me. 🙂
Update (28th April 2016): We went on to win almost 10 national and international awards and 3 nominations so far for our film One Last Question.
If you want to connect, feel free to shoot a mail here, krisangmotionpictures[@]gmail.com
KriSang Over and Out!