'Struggle is what I live for, nothing is scripted'

Unconventional

'Struggle is what I live for, nothing is scripted'

The fresh crop of directors has a few things in common: They think out of the box; unfazed by the multitude of tasks at hand and are self-assured. This, perhaps, is true of all creative people. The idea found an emphatic backing when Metrolife spoke to Ajay Govind ahead of the release of his first feature film After The Third Bell on April 4.

Bunking the usual routine of discussing the brewing anxiety and butterflies in the stomach, Ajay took us down memory lane and shared the contours of his filmmaking career that has shifted gears from documentaries to feature films.

“Both my parents and I have been referencing moments from films since I can remember. Funny moments, serious ones, sometimes even sad ones find a parallel on celluloid. That was perhaps where it all began, unknowingly,” ruminates Ajay. As a student of International School Bangkok (Thailand), Ajay made his nascent beginnings in the world of filmmaking when he took a course on deconstructing cinema and followed it up by making an abstract short film in Class 12.

After working over 30 to 40 documentary and short film projects, Ajay turned into a writer-director and co-producer for his first feature film. “With ATTB I decided to become a producer purely out of compulsion. I was worried a lot of time would be spent trying to find a producer – I had no contacts in Mumbai.”

With the support from his director of photography, Tanweer Ahmad, who signed up as a co-producer, the crowd-sourced crew, and the crowd-funding campaign that garnered over Rs 7 lakh, the film is ready for release in the theatres. Making a huge leap with this film, the director says, “When I think back of some of my first documentary projects where I handled pretty much everything myself, I realise that I have definitely travelled a long distance. And that wouldn’t have happened without my experience on those documentaries.”

And is it a good time for the Indie filmmakers?, “Clearly it is,  because a film like ATTB not only got made but is now getting a limited theatrical release. Also, I feel audiences are now more open and are, in fact, looking for new and different content.” 

But as an afterthought, thinking of the ones who are disenchanted with the rigmarole of filmmaking process,  he adds, “I have a strong sense that the times will remain as good, as bad and as ugly as they are today. A known name will be a saleable face, a newcomer will be a risk. The struggle will remain and I would be lying if I said I don’t want this struggle. It truly is what I live for.”

ATTB is not a fast-paced thriller. It’s a story that unravels slowly and is dialogue and character driven. The underlying theme is based upon the concept of ‘temporary sach’ – the temporary realities that preoccupy a cop while he is trying to arrive at the truth. “Through my two central characters I am actually talking about the dynamics of power -- how it is used and/or misused. That message may be subtly woven in, but I feel that it will hit the audience, sooner than later. And that’s the kind of movie I like which lets me make up my mind about what it was actually about.”

Apart from ATTB, what’s keeping this young gun occupied? “I am in a very exciting phase in my career right now. I have just the finished the first draft of the screenplay of a thriller based in Ladakh which is going to be co-produced by Sanjay Suri’s KAHWA Entertainment.

There are two other very different scripts that I am working on.” Leaving us with a hint of mystery, he signs off, “But a very important lesson that working on ATTB has taught me is the sheer unpredictability of this whole process of filmmaking. Who is to say that my next film might be a script I have not even written yet? Nothing is scripted, after all.”    

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