Saturday, May 21, 2011

The right blend of Art & Technology is what makes a successful film, says Filmmaker Deepak Sharma

Deepak Sharma is not the lone engineer who has reversed his gear and plunged headlong into the filmy arena. Sipping Coffee with Soham - Editor of Films & TV World, Deepak commented that Engineering has taught him physics and technology and Filmmaking is nothing but art imitated by real life experiences. And the right blend of Art and Technology is what makes a successful film, he quips. A short tete-a-tete with this short film maker..

Films & TV World: From engineering to filmmaking what ignited your passion?
Deepak Sharma: Theatre and filmmaking are the best way I can contribute to the society with reflecting my inner thoughts. Engineering has taught me physics and technology and filmmaking is something which is a right mix of Art and Technology and that excited me in final days of engineering. I also used to write for college magazine and during those days I discovered that filmmaking is something which can make writing alive and that’s when I thought of choosing filmmaking as a reflection of my thoughts.

F&TV: How did the short film “Purity” come about? What was the inspiration behind the film?
Deepak: This is my first short film and before that I was working on documentary films. While working on documentary “Life on Footpath” I came to know about lot of struggle of people who do not find any shelter and choose footpath as their place for living and shelter and settle down over there. There were many real incidents which I came across but the story of DVD seller was something which touched my heart. There was lot of pain while he was narrating, I was touched by his pain of being part of mafia and knowing about how he lost his parents.

F&TV: This film was made for Gorbaschow Pure Shots contest. What were your reactions when you dint make it to the winning list?
Deepak: I participated in the competition because of the unique theme given by the organizers. It was exciting because we had to show the duality of a person in his / her daily life. Since I knew of this real life incident that was narrated to me, I thought of participating in it. I was really not bothered about the results, but was excited that I will get a chance to showcase my work to the top industry filmmakers and this story will get a exposure on the right platform provided by 1takemedia and wg pureshots.

F&TV: Do you think the concept was not that universal or your direction had flaws?
Deepak: This short film covers two social issues. One is issue of DVD piracy and another is child human trafficking and kidnapping. Both are challenging issues across the globe where on one side our Government have failed to stop and curb the issue of child human trafficking as well as Piracy, and on the other side the entertainment industry is suffering from huge losses due to DVD Piracy. While developing the screenplay, I had to gave importance to symbolism and perspective in the film, which we have used by crushing the flower with shoe as a symbolism of killing and water drops as symbolism of being pure.

F&TV: Looking back, if you were to make a change now in this film what would it be?
Deepak: Time was the limit for us, since I and Sudarshan (Actor of the film) we both are working as well, so we got only weekends to make it. If we could have got more time, we could have taken a more realistic approach because I think the importance was given to realism than symbolism.

F&TV: What’s the best part of the filmmaking process for you? How did you go around developing your cinematic sensibilities and aesthetics?
Deepak: For me Filmmaking is nothing but real life experience, I walk down in the streets, explore the people and their activities. I keep pen and paper along with me, write down the thoughts and places I have seen and when I start thinking about any idea or concept, I look back to those notes which I have written earlier. Doing theatre and making documentaries has helped me develop cinematic sensibilities since theatre has helped me understand storytelling process, human emotions, importance of lights, music and acting skills. Making documentary films have taught me why realism is so important in cinema and the current challenges that society and its people are facing.

F&TV: Music is an integral part of a film. How did you decide on the music?
Deepak: Music is composed by Shohan Cagle (Award Winning Music composer from United States), since he is my online friend and I love listening to his music. He gives importance to human emotions in his music and his experimental work excites me so I asked him to give music for my short and he agreed to do for it. I am sure his music has made a difference in this short film as well and the impact of film has been up with 300% just because of his music.

F&TV: Do you believe that films can bring about social change, or even affect the society?
Deepak: Yes, that’s what many films have done in the past and doing in current era as well; especially in India, where films are direct reflection of Indian society. It is the best way to educate people; it is the forum through which social issues can be reflected. People not only follow film star’s hair style but also follow the moral and the message given by the films. In recent past many films have ignited youth and they are taking up the challenges in their life than just being a part of rate race.

F&TV: What do awards and appreciations mean to you?
Deepak: Awards and appreciations of course help me motivates further and boost my self confidence, not winning it motivates me more because I want to make films, documentaries and do theatre to make a social change and deal with the social issues which have not been dealt so far; don’t want to do films and theatre for awards and money.

F&TV: “Accept that you're not always right” - A great director once said this. How do you react to criticisms?
Deepak: I would agree with him because it is the perspective of right and wrong that matters. It depends of how someone is looking to the issue.

F&TV: A self learned person, do you think going to film school is a waste?
Deepak: I would not say that going to film school is waste because I really not aware what are the processes through which filmmakers go through in film schools. But for me fimmaking is a self learnt craft and I give importance to storytelling, creativity and love to do experimental work with the use of physics than cinematic techniques.

F&TV: Do you think not going to a film school helped you in any way?
Deepak: Yes, I think it has helped because my approach is different. I do not write any story in a cinematic language but I draw diagrams and do dramatic representations in a notebook. While shooting also, I do not go with just writing but use improvisation. Improvisation can be with acting, cinematography, costumes and even with locations. Which are sometime plus point for making films more beautiful, It helps bring out the best from actors, get a chance to select best shots and always help learning and doing experiments with filmmaking.

F&TV: Some of the director’s you admire?
Deepak: I am inspired with the directors for whom filmmaking was more of a passion than making money and doing business. Also the directors who loved to do experimental work than doing same formula films. I am also highly inspired with my theatre directors Ranji David and Nandini Rao who are highly passionate for theatre which I have never seen so far in my life before meeting them.

F&TV: What's next on the anvil?
Deepak: I have already started work on two short films one which deals with male/female ratio issue and another on corruption issue. I am also writing a short film on honor killing and will work on couple of documentary films as well. I am also associated with theatre group known as Yours-Truly theatre in Bangalore and have performed many shows in schools, colleges and in many NGOs along with public performances in Bangalore.

I have worked on two documentary films earlier. One is on a sweeper’s life and his struggle in society. This film highlights the social issues related to them including untouchability. Another short film that I have worked on is on the life of beggars that is not only sensible in nature but also exposes the role of mafia in their lifestyle. It highlights the economic as well as social impacts on the society but at the same time showing the pathetic condition of beggars and issues related to their rehabilitation. With this film, we also tried to expose why 26 beggars died in beggars’ colony in Bangalore last year and how the case was ignored by government and many social institutions.