From being in business to directing short films and commercials to having worked as an Associate Creative Director for the popular television series “Mrs & Mr Sharma Allahabadwale” on SAB TV, Ashish Rampal has done it all. In a straight face-to-face interview with Soham, Editor - Films & TV World, Ashish Rampal bares his heart out and discusses his start in the industry, the making of his projects, his dream directors, etc.
Films & TV: From business to film making. What ignited your passion for film making?
Ashish Rampal: I'm mainly from a business background. I left it all to enter this field as I always had the passion for filmmaking but never gave it a serious thought. The filmmaking course at
gave me a direction and confidence to pursue filmmaking as a career, especially the guidance of Pankaj Roy, my mentor. Institute of Moving Images
Films & TV: Your first film “Kismat” - How did it come about? What was the inspiration behind the film?
Ashish Rampal: I shot my first short film “Kismat” which was made while doing my course at
images. Although it was a class assignment I wanted to stand apart, make it different. Hence, thought of the non-linear pattern that goes well with a simple story told in a not so simpler manner. Moreover, in short films, story and style of narration matters more than characterization which works well with the feature format. Though it was a class assignment (as I said earlier) I did train and mentor my actors who were new to give me the right shots that I wanted. And I am happy that the result did show in the final product. Institute of Moving
Films & TV: Looking back, if you were to make a change in the way you approached this film what would it be?
Ashish Rampal: Personally I wouldn’t like to change, though now if I have to redo the script, I may come out in an entire new way. That’s coz you grow after each film. You learn everyday and you keep on incorporating them in your style of filmmaking. However, when I made that film I did a satisfying job according to the knowledge I had then. So no regrets.
Films & TV: What’s your favourite part of the filmmaking process?
Ashish Rampal: Ideating & directing it creatively.
Ashish Rampal: Film making is a learning process and you keep doing it everyday. You see a lot of emotions, colours, styles in day to day walks of life and being a creative guy, it is retained somewhere at the back of your mind. In my case, I use them to film my characters. Also by watching world cinema and seeing the way how great filmmakers use different ways to depict emotion in their films, my cinematic aesthetics have developed sharply, I can say.
Films & TV: How do you decide on the music?
Ashish Rampal: Depending on the requirements of the film, I got my music specially composed according to the theme and mood. Also it becomes imperative in case you want your film to be showcased at short film festivals around the globe. Many festivals have guidelines and those include having original story to music to everything. That’s where you can go wrong if you have taken ready scores.
Films & TV: When you’re editing, are you quite ruthless with the material?
Ashish Rampal: Not really. My ratio of Ok take to NG is 1:2 max.So for a 10 min film I’d have Footage of 20 mins max.I don’t believe in wasting stock while shooting. I do take additional shots if required but mostly to the point.
Films & TV: From your first shorts to your first commercial venture – an ad film or the like, how long was the wait?
Ashish Rampal: My 1st commercial venture took about a long 6 months wait, although each of my work has been appreciated and acknowledged right from first short film - to the recent. The best achievement of mine so far is the screening of my short film "Proud to be an INDIAN" in
. This is really a feather on my cap and that too in a very short duration. Italy
Films & TV: Do you believe that films can bring about social change, or even affect the society?
Ashish Rampal: Normally films are made from pure entertainment point of view. But sometimes, we can do more. Whether it's a little documentary making you aware about a new topic, or offering you hope – quite a few film makers like to highlight an issue. Take the case of “Rang de Basanti” which had such an impact on people and especially the silent candle protest scene. Such scenes are replicated quite often and we got to see even when the Jessica Lal case was on or during the recent Anna Hazare support campaign. Occasionally, such films can have an important and influential effect on you.
Films & TV: What were your reactions when you dint make it to the winning list in Gorbaschow Pure Shots contest?
Ashish Rampal: Winning or losing is part of every game. But the losing part according to me would have been had I thought about the same and not taken part in the contest. I believe in “Do your best” policy. Yeah, you can say I was a tad disappointed, but it’s a part of life - our job is to continue taking efforts and making films.
Films & TV: What do awards mean to you?
Ashish Rampal: It does mean a lot to many people including me. But in short, I would want to sum up as “Appreciation for the work done and confidence booster for the work to be done ahead.”
Films & TV: “Accept that you're not always right” - A great director once said this. How do you react to criticisms?
Ashish Rampal: Any constructive criticism is always welcome. But it has to be healthy.
Films & TV: You have also been associated with a teleserial.
Ashish Rampal: I have worked as an Associate Creative Director for the show Mrs & Mr Sharma Allahabadwale.
Films & TV: Lately a couple of young filmmakers coming from ad and TV background say that "film school is a waste, don't go to film school". What do you feel about that?
Ashish Rampal: To each his own. For me my film making institute ignited the spark in me to be a film-maker. A film school is required to polish your techniques and skills.
Films & TV: Some of the director’s you admire?
Ashish Rampal: I really admire and worship Vishal Bhardwaj ji and Anurag Kashyap as i'm really fond of the DARK genre. My aim is to make a film on their school of thoughts someday.
Films & TV: What's next?