Q. Why did you join the film industry what was the reason?
A. I belong to a small state of Maharashtra, called Akola, where Cinema is till watched wholeheartedly. The first movie that I watched was Mr. Dilip Kumar’s – Aan. I was so mesmerized by it, that I kept watching his other films one after the other and gradually started liking the world of entertainment, movies, and camera. Somewhere, I too wanted to be part of this world of films. Since my childhood, I liked to write. On top of that, my mother tongue is Urdu. In fact, I completed my entire graduation in the Urdu language. But, by the time I completed my 12th grade, I had decided to make a career in the film industry.
Q. What kind of challenges do you face, as an independent filmmaker?
A: I started working in the film industry in 2005. I was working on television series. But eventually, my interest started fading away due to various reasons. I wanted to write my own stories and film them too. But the kind of realistic stories that I was writing, it was difficult to get any sponsors for it. Whomsoever I approached for the fund, wanted to make a commercial-entertainment movie. I have always been more interested in writing social humorous, satirical films. Due to a shortage of funds and support, I started making independent low-budget films using my own resources. On top of this, the people from the industry weren’t ready to accept such social satirical concepts.
Q. Tell us about your journey so far?
A: Well, after some initial struggle, my short films started getting awards one after the other. I also started getting some good appreciation and acknowledgment. Then, there also came a day when I got an offer from Berlin Cinefest Film Festival which left me surprised. They had offered me a position to be the film festival’s Jury. It was quite challenging for me to understand at first. But then again in 2018, I got another offer to be a film festival Jury from American Youth Film Festival. It was a good and exciting experience this time. And then again last year, I have been selected as a Jury member for Australia’s Multicultural Film Festival.
Q. What was your feeling when you got the Best Director award from the UK for “Merit Animal’?
A. Merit Animal is a very special film for me. It took me around 2 years to write its script and I had written the script from the bottom of my heart. After trying a lot, I luckily got producers like Akola’s Pradeep Deshmukh and Mumbai’s Reena Jadhav. They gave me complete freedom for creativity and trusted me. Because the film was on children’s education and city life, I faced new and different challenges. But, seeing that now I have been awarded, I am satisfied that all my efforts were worth it. I am very grateful to Allah for this.
Q. Your short films got so many awards; how do you feel?
A. It is all God’s grace. I am able to work on various new concepts all due to the support of my family, my wife, and my film team. I would especially like to thank all those film festivals that have appreciated my films. I would also like to thank all those news platforms that have acknowledged my work and recognized me. We have received more than 25 awards till now. I am very happy with the success of this film.
Q. You are a director/writer/lyricist, which role is more difficult to play?
All three fields are challenging. But personally, I feel playing the role of Director is more challenging for me. Because for every scene I have to make sure that what I have captured on the screen is the same as what I have visualized. At the same time, I also need to coordinate with different departments and handle all of them very calmly. I guess this is also something that I enjoy the most in filmmaking.
Q. What would come next in your career?
A. I have recently published my first novel in Urdu. It is currently being translated into other languages.
Then, I am working on the script of two films.
And then, some of my short films are already on the OTT platform. Now, I am working on another mini web series for OTT.