We met Vijay Das who made a short movie Jana Gana Mana on a social cause and won many awards, nominations and appreciation. Read on to know more about this filmmaker who has a never say die spirit.
|Tell us about your life journey in brief?Since childhood I used to draw and paint, after completing Fine Arts (Painting), I learnt animation and worked for many Hollywood, Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood VFX films, 3D films, Cartoon episodes and DVD series. I was part of many big companies in India such as DQ Entertainment, Prana Studios, EyeQube Studios (An EROS international) etc.
What prompted you to become a filmmaker?
I worked for 9 years in Animation and Visual Effects (VFX). Slowly, I realised that, I am more of a creative Labor. I wanted to make my own movies. Everyday something was kicking and killing me from inside and I was unable to sleep or eat properly. Finally one fine day, I quit my job and started writing my short ideas and made 2 short films. When I left my job, I was earning good, 60k+ was my salary at that time.
How your family reacted when you quit your job?
My family supported me at every stage. They never say no to whatever I do but they ask me to take my decisions properly. They could not help me financially but they backed all my decisions and they are my backbone.
Tell us about your team, if you have?
I look for new talent and new team every time. My DOP Surya Vinay has worked with me from my first short film. My wife also helped me in writing stories. She is not a writer and no where related to filmmaking buy everyday we used to spend 1-2 hours in writing a story.
How many/ What kind of movies you have made?
I made 2 short films till now. First short film JANA GANA MANA, got 2 awards and many international nominations. Second short film which was released recently is BE HUMANE’. Both my short films are commercially successful.
How difficult it is to secure funding for your projects?
It is difficult. Every filmmaker has to prove himself/ herself, getting that first opportunity is very difficult. I got my producer after getting rejected by 200 film producers. At that particular time, I didn’t have a single rupee and I also got married. I didn’t have anything to eat also but I kept trying. I approached more than 200 people who have money to fund my concept – Jan Gana Mana. Finally my friend’s father helped me. I told him that If my film will not able to earn money, I will work somewhere and return your money in installments. I was asking around 2 lakh rupees but in the end I made the film in less than 80k. The movie earned 4 lakhs, 2 awards, 5 international nominations, got telecasted in 20+ channels and got screened in Gachibowli stadium in front of 7000 people in the last. There were also demands of dub it in all regional language but I could only dub it in 2 languages – Telugu and Oriya.
How did you feel when your movie won the first award?
For first award, I was actually jumping in my bedroom. There were more than 2000 entries and my film was in top 20. I can not explain how many hurdles I came across and how much I struggled. There were many bad days for me. When I was going to Mumbai to receive the award, my friend purchased me a new shirt as I didn’t have money to buy that also.
Tell us about your second movie?
After making my first movie, I again worked for 1 year and then again decided to quit my job and made my second film – Be Humane. It has no language and I am planning to send it to Cannes film festival. Currently I am writing a feature film and I have stopped watching any other film. The film I am writing should come from my heart. When I’ll be making/ shooting the film, for technical reference I will watch a film but the story should not be inspired from any other movie. This is how I work.
In both of your films, you raise problems related to children, any specific reason for that?
No, there is no specific reason for this. I wanted to show problems which are there in society and in an entertaining way. It should not be like a documentary basically. The main thing is that everybody is making love films now a days but I didn’t want to do that. If I would have done a love story my film would not have got any money 🙂
Who are your distributors?
Pocket films and Abhibus.
What is your dream/ vision?
Everyday I get so many dreams and ideas. My vision is to make movies which are very inspirational and thought provoking along with commercial benefits.
What difficulties you face as an independent filmmaker?
Every filmmaker faces lot of difficulties while making a film. It’s part of the journey. Starting from writing a script- getting a producer-actors-marketing-release etc. it was very difficult for me. But after overcoming those, once I saw my film on the screen, I got inner satisfaction and it made me forget all the difficulties and problems faced. So now, I no more care about the difficulties, I enjoy them.
Any fun/ memorable incident?
For me every moment is memorable and fun. I still remember everyday of my filmmaking journey.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbee in filmmaking?
Spend more time in Pre-Production, which will help a lot while in Production and Post-Production. When I made Be Humane, everything (shot, camera angles, description) was pre planned. You should not be in a hurry when you are making a film.
Anything else you’d like to share?
We wish Vijay all the best for his future endeavors. Please let us know your comments on Vijay’s films.
If you are a filmmaker, you can submit your films here.