National award winning director Kumar Devanshu speaks about his experience of co-directing the song ‘Kanpoora’ from KATIYABAAZ and also reveals the best and worst part of being a filmmaker. Read on…
Tell us a bit about your background and your journey thus far.
I come from Munger, which is a small town in Bihar. After graduating from Mumbai University in BMM, I started working in ad films as an assistant casting director, wrote for TV, assisted Mr. Nikhil Advani and Mr. Vikramaditya Motwane. My elder brother Satyanshu Singh (an MBBS Graduate from Armed Forces Medical College, Pune) and I started working together. We wrote the poems and short stories in UDAAN (2010). We wrote a song ‘Life Ye Mausambi-Si’ from FERRARI KI SAWAARI (2013) and made a Kashmiri short film ‘TAMAASH’ (THE PUPPET), our directorial debut that won awards all over the world across film festival and eventually a National Award.
How did you get associated with KAITYABAAZ?
Well, I was working on a PSA with Mr. Vikramaditya Motwane and was aware that he was directing the promotional music video for KATIYABAAZ. Due to some urgent engagement, he couldn’t be available for the entire shoot. So he introduced me to Fahad and Deepti and offered me to join him for the shoot and take over while he was away.
'The song 'Kanpoora' captures the essence of the film perfectly'
How was the experience of co-directing the music video?
I was never co-directing it in my head. I was just ‘keeping his vision’. It was his kindness that he trusted me and offered me the job and later offered the co-director credit.
What was the idea behind shooting the music video?
The song ’Kanpoora’ captures the essence of the film perfectly. With the music video as the medium, the idea was to reach out to a larger audience. Mr. Ranjan Singh is the man behind the idea of the music video.
How was it co-directing with Vikramaditya Motwane? It must have been an honour.
I have assisted him previously and it has always been a memorable association. He is my mentor and I considered this experience as doing a crash course on filmmaking under his guidance.
How was it working with Indian Ocean?
It was wonderful. Rahul Ram and Amit Kilam are very warm, supportive and amazing people. They went through a lot of stress while shooting for 14 hours a day and never complained. It wasn’t an easy shoot but they kept their calm and let us do our work. Hats off to them.
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Did the power actually go off while shooting the video as seen in the video?
Have you seen the film? If you have, what was your first reaction when you saw the film?
Yes I have! I was silent for good five minutes after watching the film. This film casts such a magical spell on you. It transports you to this world of endearing characters. It is one of the most entertaining documentaries I have ever seen. It makes you laugh, makes you question, makes you understand the ground realities and keeps you hooked through out. I am still in awe of the film.
'Katiyabaaz transports you to this world of endearing characters'
What is the best and the worst thing about being a filmmaker?
The best thing about being a filmmaker is that you live so many lives with your stories. You live with your characters and also within them. You create them, nurture them with your life experiences and continuously keep reinventing yourself. The worst thing about being a filmmaker is to act as a manipulator solely for the execution of your very personal vision that at times makes you feel very selfish.
What do you think is lacking in the Hindi film industry?
The intent behind making films is to make money instead of telling good stories well. Whether mainstream or not, we do not give enough time to develop content. We are in a hurry to deliver profits but do not give time to make films.
Irrespective of the box office success or failure, do you feel we lack good content films?
Yes, but what is encouraging is to know that there is good content floating around. All we need to do is identify them and nurture them.
Do you think we will see documentaries being more popular in the Hindi film industry?
If made well, and marketed appropriately, it will become popular. The journey has begun. THE WORLD BEFORE HER did better than FIRE IN THE BLOOD, which did better than MALEGAON KA SUPERMAN. We are hopeful.
Your film TAMAASH won numerous awards. Did you expect it to do so well?
Honestly, we were on a journey to make a film to see if we can tell a story well. Never knew it would win us so many awards.
'Whether mainstream or not, we do not give enough time to develop content'
Do you plan to make commercial films?
Yes, I would want all my films to end up being ‘commercial’.
Any actors/actresses with whom you want to work with?
It’s a never ending list. Starting from Mr. Amitabh Bachchan to Ranbir Kapoor and from Waheeda Rahmanji to Alia Bhatt.
What are your future projects?
We have recently launched our video channel ‘Storytelling Twins’ to create meaningful online content and hope to start our feature film soon.