Pushpdeep Bhardwaj who has made 13 short films till date and made them in less than Rs. 35. Here are the excerpts of an interesting conversation with him:
Tell us about your life journey in brief?
Adventurous – would be the word! I was in class 3rd when I gave my first performance as an actor. There was a kid in my class, who would have severe epileptic attacks frequently and because of which he would be given extra privileges in school- like assembly bunk, early interval. Eventually he had to leave the school because of his health issues. Bas, phir kya tha, mujhe mera role samajh mein aa gaya, and I took his place. Every day I would enact the same attack, spitting out saliva, rolling my eyes, shiver and lie down on the floor. Kuch din aisa chala, the teachers stopped asking me for my homework, I would be dropped back from school early. As all good things come to an end, and then came a Parents Teacher Meeting.
My parents, who were completely unaware of my ‘self-composed’ disease, returned from the meeting and confronted me. My mother said, ‘iske dimaag mein keede ghus gaye hain, iska sar kaatkar, operation karwana padhega’. Horrified at the thought, I blurted out everything.My father didn’t scold me. The very next day, he made me join Sahitya Kala Parishad in Delhi. And then there was no looking back, from playing the role of a mouse, door, tree to the Commander in Court Martial, Uddham Singh, Ram in Ramayana, I spent 12 years of my life dedicated to the stage!
There were many ups and downs, the ride, of course was not an easy one, as there came a point when I started eating, breathing, and living theatre. Fed up, my father gave me the ultimate choice – Theatre or Family. It took me only a second to say – Theatre. And I left my house. Currently, I make short films for my passion and to find a producer and I take acting workshops for my living.
What prompted you to become a filmmaker?
In college I headed my own theatre group called Paathshala Theatre. Our group grew day by day. We did street plays on various social issues and gathered crowds of hundreds of people. One day, my friend, Anubhuti Beohar brought me the script of a short film, ‘Seven to Nine’ and asked me to direct it. From there, started the journey of Pushpdeep Bhardwaj, the director. Till date I’ve done 3 TV serials as a Creative Director, 2 Acting Workshops with big Hindi film banners, 13 short films and 6 commercial film scripts in hand, I am just moving ahead each day, as a filmmaker. My intentions are always to make a movie in least possible budget.
What problems did you face while making your first film?
As we all know the Mumbai rains, we decided to shoot in that period. The set was prepared, Cameras were ready, actors were waiting for the clap but the director, me, was waiting to say ‘action’. But Lord Indra was not in the mood to shower his blessings. We chose not to stop. Buckets were punched with holes at the bottom, and a tubelight with a faulty starter were used to compensate Lord Indra’s mood. And it somehow succeeded.
Our shooting schedules are usually at night. And this is the time when dogs have their territory fights. One of our teammates, is always on duty to please Lord Bhairav’s vaahan (dogs). Hence when the budget is low, such stories are in abundance.
So did you attend any filmmaking institute?
Ofcourse not! I am a graduate Communication Designer from NIFT Mumbai. You don’t have to be a film graduate to make films. You just need to be a thinker, a philosopher, a visionary, a dreamer and a story teller. They dont usually teach such subjects at these film schools. Either you are born with it, or you learn it with time. I am learning with time. Or maybe I was born with it, I don’t know. 😉
Tell us about your team, if you have?
‘Main chalta gaya, log milte gaye, kaarwaan badhta gaya, kuch ruke, kuch chale gaye’.The captain of the ship cannot fight alone through the storm, so there’s always a team backing me up because a ‘film has its own destiny’.
How many/ What kind of movies you have made?
I have made 13 short films of various genres that includes drama, satire, comedy, suspense, thriller, historical drama. All of these are available on my YouTube channel. You could type ‘Pushpdeep Bhardwaj’ in the search box. And enjoy the quick flicks.
How do you pick ideas for your films?
Usually people dream about their goals in life.’Dreams are something you don’t see while sleeping, but something that don’t let you sleep’. On the contrary, I sleep with the thought, weave it while dreaming and pen it down when I am awake.
What is your dream/ vision?
There are 6 movie posters hanging on my wall in my room- Schindler’s List, Casablanca, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather and The Dark Knight. My dream is to make movies, whose posters can be hung beside these classics.
What difficulties you face as an independent filmmaker?
The only difficulty we face as an independent filmmaker is money. If you watch our movies online on youtube, and the making, you will realise how we make our movies on such meagre budget.
I am also ready with 6 registered commercial scripts which are complete with screenplay and dialogues but the only struggle is to find a financier.
Any fun/ memorable incident?
A few memorable moments are captured in the making of our short films. You can watch them on our Youtube Channel itself.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbee in filmmaking?
‘Aag ka dariyaa hai…aur doob ke jana hai….’