Techie makes one film every week

Techie makes one film every week

Techie makes one film every week

If you believe film making is a miracle of collaboration then Ahmedabad-based former research associate at Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, Tanmay Shah is an exception.

If you think that movies do take quite a bit of time and sometimes as long as 14 years to make a magnum opus as Mughal-e-azam, 28-year-old Tanmay is an exception there too. And if you believe that making films require tonnes of money. Tanmay is an exception.

This young man has not just made zero budget films but made 52 of them in one year, sliding in to the annals of record books for his feat, be it Asia Book of Records, Golden Book of World Records, India Book of Records or Limca Book of Records.

How did an engineer in information technology, working with country’s premier tech institute as a research associate, writing algorithms for conversion of text to speech for Wikipedia and a guy who had never been to a cinema to watch a single film since childhood achieve this? “I have always been a studious kind of a guy who never watched movies. I have seen perhaps six movies till date, that too on my laptop. And all of them are Hollywood movies. The only Hindi movie I have seen is recently when my brother (who is also an engineer) forced me to watch is Dangal,” Tanmay says.

So how did the bug of film making bite him that he became not just a film maker but also a voracious film maker? “I don’t know what really happened?” says Tanmay. “Actually I was working in a lab at IIT and there was another guy was making a computer game. He wanted me to write script for him as I have been writing poems and stories. He took me out for a shoot of the script and that is when I first time saw a movie camera and something happened. May be when intuition talks, logic is limited. Rest is just history,” Tanmay, whose father has been a painter for last 40 years, says.

Tanmay was so enamoured by the medium of reaching out to a larger audience that one night while working in the lab at IIT, he just quit and began shooting films. “I think I entered the lab at 9 pm and by 9.30 pm I just left to tell the stories and shoot films,” Tanmay adds. “When I first told my father, he was shocked. He could not believe it as we rarely talked as he was busy with his paintings and I with my academics. There was not much in common,” he says.

He began his tryst by making films in Mumbai on weekends. But then as luck would have it one day a policeman stopped him from shooting on Marine Drive. This first brush with law unnerved Tanmay so much that he shifted back to Ahmedabad in 2014.

Back home, Tanmay felt a tad more welcome and he began with his pursuit to communicate with larger audience. He set out to do what appeared to be a seemingly impossible task – make a short film every week and release it on Friday on Internet. Definitely a big task for a man who had never been trained in craft of film making, art of script writing and technique of editing. He began by sifting through voluminous material available online about film making, tutorials, DIY videos and much more.

“The essence of it all is that what we are trying to say is to tell the story and film is just a medium I always learnt with hands-on approach instead of waiting for the golden opportunity or the best equipment. I started with whatever I had, and today I have everything to make a film,” says Tanmay.

To put his potential, patience and perseverance to test, Tanmay single-handedly began with his endeavour of making and releasing a film every Friday. He would think of an idea on Saturday, work on the script next day and shoot and edit from Monday to Thursday, before putting it up a film on the Internet every Friday, without fail, for 52 weeks. “I have seen myself doing a lot of activities since childhood but we never count the things we do and end up doing multiple and multifaceted things in our daily life. Similarly, film making to me became like sneezing. The stories would just come,” Tanmay adds.

He would shape his films from the surrounding environs and touch the daily lives. While some among the one million viewers that he has been able to garner for his work see them as social films, he feels they are mere reflection of the currents in society. His films would revolve around topics as relation between a father and child, light, pollution, saving, sounds, billboards carrying incorrect spellings or sensitive as intolerance. “I once made a film showing four people playing carrom. All of them had been killed in terrorist attacks. They were having a dialogue about what happened to them and questioning the rationale for such madness,” Tanmay says.

For first 26 films he made, Tanmay used common people as actors. He would just approach these strangers, tell them the stories and persuade them to be in front of his camera. Somehow, most of them agreed to be his actors. It is after he had made 26 films and was talked about in the cyber world, did people take him seriously and other artistes willingly joined in his endeavour. So far, he has worked with over 170 actors and has never repeated anyone.

Having completed his feat in 2015 and getting his name etched in record books this year, Tanmay now has his eyes set on larger canvas. He wants to try his hand at making a full-length Hindi feature film. “I am currently writing the script and hope to see my magnum opus translate on big screen,” he says.

Tanmay has also set his eyes on repeating his feat of making film a week and instead of just restricting himself to state geography he plans to traverse 13 different states across the country and make 52 more films on social issues.

He has so far walked the path alone. Tanmay says that he is ready to collaborate with other talented individuals who share his passion. A little like international cine czar Steven Spielberg who says about his life, “When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, film making is all about appreciating the talents of people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.” Tanmay too is hoping to grow with time but he is sure about one thing, “I have to make the film. Else I will die.”

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