My Story: How I became filmmaker after winning 30 National level programming competitions

“I have always been good at studies. Every year I used to receive Best All-rounder award from the school and always had that 1st ranker tag with me. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but winning was like a habit to me. I was fascinated by computers when I was just six years old. So at that time I’d decided that I want to become a programmer and be an expert at coding. Right after completing my schooling I got admission at DDIT in Bachelors of Engineering in Information Technology. During College I won 30 National level programming competitions and took part in 93 tech festivals.

Image Courtesy: Humans of Amdavad
Image Courtesy: Humans of Amdavad

I would just attend college during exams, my attendance wasn’t even in double digits. After graduation I got an internship at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) Mount Abu, where I worked on Telescopes and Cloud censors and what not. After completing my internship I sat at home for straight seven months doing nothing. Meanwhile I got to know that IIT- Bombay was hiring, I applied and landed a job at IIT- Bombay as a research associate. All over the years I used to write short imaginative, fiction stories and poems just out of passion and one of my colleague at IIT-Bomaby came to know that so he approached me to write story line for his game. I wrote story for him and now he wanted to make a trailer of that game. In the meantime he made me introduced to a Tamil guy who would shoot this film. This was the time when I realized that I am very good at writing stories and this is where my heart resides.

Unfortunately for my colleague we didn’t make a trailer for him, but I and that Tamil guy collaborated and started a company called ‘Friday Fiction Films’. Since films are released on Friday, so the name stuck, ‘Friday Fiction Films.’ The first thing I did was to register a domain. Friday Fiction Films was free so we bought it. That is how, ‘Friday Fiction Films’ was born and the journey started. There was a communication problem between me and that Tamil guy so language differences between us reflected in the movies and we started making movies without dialogues. My first film was ‘Intent’ and it went to International Film Festival and I was fascinated. The idea that what I am painting was being conveyed there and that inspired me to leave my job and follow my heart. But soon after four films that Tamil guy went back to Chennai and I was left alone. In the mean time I’d left my job at IIT-Bombay about which my parents weren’t aware so I came back to Ahmedabad and told my parents about my films and they weren’t supportive about this idea but anyhow I continued making films. There was this one time when an idea struck me to make 52 films and release it every Friday. It was of course a tough task to release one film every Friday and that for the entire year. People started criticizing me and even laughed at me, they started doubting my potentials. But deep inside my heart I knew that it was possible and I would do everything to make it possible and that is how I started project of 52 films(Zero Budget).

I started making it on my own. I used to write script, screenplays, direct the film, edit the film on regular basis. It was a mammoth task to make such zero budget films every Friday, you have to finalize the locations, to convincing actors to getting proper music. Initially my topics were social issues but now later I started making films on topics like Lesbian Weddings, Light Pollution, Child Abuse. After so many struggled and hardships today I can proudly say that I have made 52 short films with zero budget out of which many of them have made it to International Film Festivals.

My film Paperboat won at a festival, ‘Yes! I am the Change’ and Wish went into Sydney Transgender Film Festival 2014. Except that, my films have also made to Script International Short Film Festival, Cochin and Shamiana. Recently my name was entered in ‘India Book of Records’ and the ‘Asia Book of Records’, winning the “Most zero budget films in a calendar year” title. I even got listed in the Golden Book of World Records fetching the “Most short films directed by an individual in a year.” I also shoot corporate ad films now. My story is an example that life is unpredictable, you never know what life has to offer. From being a techno geek to becoming a Golden Books of World Record holder. I have come a long way.

Any Message ?

I guess understanding your passion should be more important to you rather just being passionate about something. Don’t just run after things that give you temporary gains, try to leave an impact in lives of people through your passion.”