Friday, December 21, 2012

Startup Inspiration: Arnab Kanti Mishra's Journey from IIT to Film Making.

Arnab Kanti Mishra writer editor film maker creative consultant
Why would a brilliant achiever with an IIT background venture into film-making? Perhaps for the same reason many other entrepreneurs leave their well-paying, cushy jobs to chase their dreams. But the entrepreneur we are talking about here has ventured from the world of science into the creative field.

In this eventful journey, he has not only experienced diverse views and opinions, but has also received many accolades.

Arnab Mishra Film maker writing editing film script corporate films
Meet the multifaceted, multi-talented Arnab Kanti Mishra, aka AKM. In this candid interview, we talk about everything from what's common in physics and film-making, to the various nuances of making a film.

Physics and film making : with a masters in both, do you find any overlap in them? 

I started with Physics as my career and this as a passion, now it’s vice versa. You can’t really separate Physics from the things you do in life. It is the most basic element. Film Making is the art of creating a space and time in which you define the characters and laws, so you create your own world and when you talk about space and time you include Physics. Physics helps me not only to think philosophically and rationally, but also gives me an edge with respect to understanding the technical aspects of film making too, whether its lights, equipments or anything else. 

Can you share some 'aha' moments from your journey so far?

I am usually neutral towards most things/situations in life. I barely reacted even when my documentary film got selected and screened in prestigious film festivals. I believe in living and enjoying every moment to the fullest, whether its joy or sorrow. I even enjoy the pain evoked by tears... I like spending time with myself. Usually when I am alone and cutoff from world, all the moments seem ‘aha’ moments to me as they are special. 

What is your preferred style of photography and why? 

I love to play with natural lights. Abstracts define my style as they are raw and open to interpretation by the viewers. Abstracts also open up a huge array, giving me more options to shoot. Also, shooting abstracts offer you the challenge to make ugly things look beautiful, while also enhancing the existing beauty of my subjects. My style for shooting lies in candid shots across genre. 

What is the most misunderstood aspect of film making?

There are broadly 2 aspects about films. One with respect to the viewers; and the other concerning the film makers. Viewers perceive films to be larger than life, owing to which they cannot relate to it. Films need to mirror the reality of society, but this unfortunately, does not always happen. Stars are given more importance than the films. Viewers idolize stars as they feel they are beyond reach; in the process, its the stars who are looked up to and not the film itself. Audiences today have evolved; they know what they want and expect value out of their time and money when watching a film. Smart marketing may get your audiences to the theater, but it can't fool them to like a movie which has no substance, resulting in audiences which may or may not pass true judgement. 

For film makers, there is often a misconception regarding the structure of films. Most film makers treat films as pure business; this takes away the essence. Making films does not require huge investments; instead it requires sound knowledge and an eye for detail so as to be able to portray the real image of society. What happens instead is, in the chase for commercial success, stars are created, larger than life reality and emotions are portrayed and in the process viewers lose the connect. 

Cinema is an important mode of visual communication; its an important medium to portray society and situations. But sadly, that is not how it is in India. Off late, it has become more commercial than a form of art and visual expression. 

Who is your favorite director? 

There are quite a few: Christopher Nolan, Ritwik Ghatak, Martin Scorcesse, James Cameron, Satyajit Ray.. 

What kind of films would you like to make in the future?

I like most genres. I think in depth about life and try to understand things deeply; I analyze things, so somehow I have more scripts on thrillers. Suspense and the sci-fi is another genre which I would want to explore. 

You do so many different things so well. What's the secret? 

I do not do anything; she (Ma Saraswati) does it. I am just a medium, as long as I deserve, she will bestow me, empower me and create magic through me; the rest just follows.

How do you manage your time, any special methodologies? 

To be honest, most of the time I can’t manage; owing to the quality I offer and also due to the unique style I offer, all my clients want me to pay personal attention to their projects. And fortunately or unfortunately, I do not have a clone, so it becomes really difficult at times. But God has been kind so far, somehow things fall in place (touché). Time is something which has always been at loggerheads with me! 

What was your most challenging assignment so far? 

Well, I would say the recent project to make TVCs for BSE. There were 4 TVCs to be shot and delivered within 5 days. Shooting along with coordinating can take quite a toll! I have literally had 5 sleepless nights; but eventually the efforts paid off! 

Another assignment which comes to mind was my first film as a student, SHALOM. I shot it across 18 different locations in 5 days. It was a 30 min film and my first experience in film making which kept me on the edge throughout; a truly memorable experience! 

It’s not really the assignments which are challenging; it’s usually the time management which becomes a challenge. Clients demand deliverables on priority without factoring the actual time; so handling multiple projects simultaneously leads to a time crunch and it becomes challenging. Like a recent incident of making 8+16 viral videos within 9 days, while also managing my other commitments. So yes, challenging it is! 

What was the most creatively fulfilling assignment so far, and why so? 

I feel adjudging something in its superlative is truly unfair. You can’t really define something as ‘most’ creative; everything has its own essence. And I have been lucky to have worked with some very creative assignments. 

What are the important differences that you perceive between creating corporate films (which are more formal and business oriented), and working on feature films that are more artsy and informal in nature? 

Most corporate films follow the methodology of a documentary. For eg, if you have to showcase an interview, you won’t know what the person will be speaking, for how long, etc, so according to the content/footage, we edit and this simplifies things in terms of arranging the shots and the messages accordingly. While in scripted films, we create a space time and everything is planned. Even the most minute details need to be accommodated for and planned in advance. So anything scripted and then executed is always under extreme controlled conditions and is hence tough. 

What are the learnings from your metamorphosis that you would like to share with others who would like to follow your lead? 

Why just my lead, for everything you do in life, if you are honest to yourself and do things without an attachment, eventually things will fall in place. This is what I have learnt. The only thing which counts is the purity of thoughts and actions; your involvement and your dedication. You just need to focus on your efforts and actions without getting attached. Give your best shot, being honest to your soul, this is the only rule the nature and the universe follows. Everything else is just incidental. 

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  1. Thank you for the excellent interview. It is a really good insight in the mind of the director, and the importance of being spiritual in life.

    thanks again.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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