Deepak Mahajan an engineering graduate and management post graduate left his job at multinational company to take risk in life and make his daughter proud. Read on to know more about this prolific filmmaker.
Tell us about your life journey in brief?
I belong to a middle class Punjabi family of Delhi and I am a mechanical engineer with post graduation in management. I have started working part time in my college days and that gave me lot of freedom to try new things at my own cost. My mom always stresses upon the value of time and I never wasted a single day without learning anything new. I got married early to my girlfriend which is the best decision of my life as she is super committed and super supportive. I worked for various national and multinational companies and my life was going fantastic where you work five days to live on weekends. Suddenly, I got a little angel as my daughter and I don’t know what was the exact emotion that prompted me to promise me that lets start taking risk in life and make my daughter proud. I left Delhi when my daughter was around three years and started working in Daily soaps first and thereafter I got a chance to work in Yashraj TV productions.
I was writing my first script on Sh. Milkha Singh in 2008. I did a lot of research for a year but unfortunately that project was taken up by a big filmmaker that time. I was shattered because rarely you get such real stories. I tried to submit my research and showed my willingness to join as a team but nothing materialized that time. I got decent experience in TV and Films but, unfortunately my father had a heart attack and I had to come back to Delhi in 2011.
What prompted you to become a filmmaker?
I loved films from the moment I saw first movie in my life. You live a lot in those three hours. Fortunately, I’d been to different section of society since my early days where I have rich relatives at one end and poorest on the other and having such contrast for the same event in their lives. I love reading people’s mind and am pretty successful on many occasions. But the actual filmy bug bit me, when I saw, “Khosla Ka Ghosla” , directed by Dibakar Banerjee. That film gave me a new direction and prompted me to think beyond the cliche of film-making. I always get fascinated by real life stories or situations and that is where I felt like trying my hands on film-making.
Tell us about your team, if you have?
My film has a lot of mix & match of raw and experienced people. I got, ‘Gyanendra Singh’ as my editor who has been associated with award winning movies like Gattu,Swen,Visible bra straps ,Woman from the east. Then I got, ‘Ashiesh Kumar J’ as the lead for my movie who is an alumnus from Barry john institute and fantastic actor, he had been doing theatre from last 12 years. Actors like Manoj Bakshi who had been part of many mainstream movies like Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012), Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Delhi Belly (2011). So I have pretty decent mix.
How many/ What kind of movies you have made?
I have directed corporate films so far. TLSOD is my first movie.
What is your dream/ vision?
Honestly, I am in a journey and have no idea what future holds. My dream is to keep making movies. I seriously just want to make movies because I feel so satisfied when I am on set and crafting the story day by day and finally watching it taking shape. The whole process is magical. Today, I could say safely, forget fame and money, one has to be blessed for making movies because you don’t get this responsibility often. So my ultimate dream is to keep making movies till the end.
What difficulties you face as an independent filmmaker?
Well, if you choose to go independent route, difficulties are your best friends. The biggest setback is to form a team and align them to your vision which happens rarely. Team normally doesn’t give their best to a new filmmaker as they are always skeptical about the success of the film and believe me you need the best support when you start so you need to be very careful in selecting Cast & Crew. Second point is the cost, you have to be very sensitive about last minute changes and need to plan your Project / cost in such a way that your budget respects your project. You cannot be clueless of Budget and Project schedule constraints. Your production design has be to kick-ass in any scenario otherwise you always find yourself get bitten by unseen demands and will endure movie in the process. Third and most important is the PR of your movie. You either need to learn or get associate early to someone who knows the right marketing plan for your movie, in absence of that, you always find your valuable efforts going to waste and that is very disappointing.
What inspires you or keeps you going?
You do meditation and feel peaceful. For me, movies are my meditation and where I completely forget myself and feel like detachment to everything. GOD has made this world and might felt satisfied, so we filmmakers are same, feeling and finding satisfaction in telling stories to the world and thats the real motivation to keep communicating to the world in our way through different stories.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbie in film making?
My advice to anyone who is thinking of making movie, ‘STOP THINKING’, just make it. You have to start early and keep going. You need three things Training, courage & conviction. Interestingly often the conviction takes lead if first two are missing J. You need to be humble and gentle throughout your journey and keep enjoying the process.
Anything else you’d like to share?
About the Movie , The lost Salesman of Delhi
We released, “The Lost Salesman of Delhi” trailer last month on YouTube and we received tremendous reactions from all over the world. We received many emails, majorly from INDIA, USA, UK and France. We did couple of screenings in Mumbai & Delhi for close people and they were shocked to see this bitter truth. They have agreed about their suffering of other nature for just having a roof on their heads. They were literally shocked and upfront about TLSOD, additionally; they also have seen their friends compromising in corporate jobs and it shared their concern about today’s time where it is almost impossible for a common man to buy a decent home in metro cities.
I don’t understand how a common man can buy a property of crore rupees in normal scenario. Sadly, all Government schemes of proving shelter to middle class and poor is on paper only. Additionally, I had witness people compromising in every industry for getting a decent shelter on their heads. Having a home is the biggest need in anyone’s life and those who don’t have a decent shelter have to face lot of social abuse at many stages in their lives. There is a social stigma of about male prostitutes, having fun on the job and earning money too, but here, Raja had never shared a single occasion where he enjoyed his profession and how could you enjoy being physical after working nine hours on a shop, and then serving physically depressed clients of eccentric nature. Please don’t go with the conventional thinking of gigolos getting rich and beautiful clients every time, but normally they get ugly, depressed and heartless people. Obviously, beautiful women of any age needn’t pay normally to get these services, so it is natural to face clients who are looking someone to obey them as dogs and they enjoy victim’s suffering. I felt a strong need to share what I had researched and that was how, TLSOD happened.
To watch the trailer, click here.
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