Shalibhadra Shah set up the Gurugram-based cinema marketplace ABC Talkies during the pandemic—June 2020. Shah, who has previously worked with a media production company, mentions that the transition to entrepreneurship was challenging. With ABC Talkies, the Ahmedabad resident and his co-founder, Siddharth Sinha look forward to creating a space for independent filmmakers who want their work to reach a wider audience. In this interview, we speak to Shah about how the organisation came into being, how he maintains work-life balance and more.
How did the idea for ABC Talkies come about?
The core idea came from targeting independent filmmakers. The independent film or alternate cinema as we call it is not getting the required limelight. These films are screened at many film festivals where the makers talk about them. But, at the end of the day, after the festivals are over, the films never make it to the masses. They would be on YouTube or a similar platform because not every film is bought by OTT. So, we wanted to create a platform where they [the filmmakers] could showcase their film as well as monetise it. That is where the idea came from.
How do you spend your free time?
I like to explore things. I like to take up tasks that are challenging… say, sports. I enjoy playing all kinds of sports. While I have been good at a few, there are others that I play for fun—tennis and swimming being two. I have also started cycling now; I cycle around my society. When it comes to other things, I have been doing all kinds of explorations whether it is with machines or interior design and more. Most of my free time goes into experimenting with new things. I am a small-time engineer of sorts. If I had to do some kind of repair work, I would try it.
You work with films. Are you a film buff too?
I am an avid film lover. Barring horror, I can watch all genres of films. There is no genre I like in particular because I am in an industry where I need to know, watch, and like all kinds of films. These days I am watching South Indian films and K-dramas. I love The Pursuit of Happyness. Chak De India is another film that I have watched a number of times.
How do you strike a balance between work and your personal life?
Honestly, it is actually better than what it was before. I have been able to give a lot of time to my family. For the last 17 years… it was a 24x7, 365 days kind of job. I did not see my kids growing up. However, now I have time to be with them. It is more balanced now.
What lessons have you learnt from your entrepreneurial journey?
The start-up world reality is much different than people perceive it to be. It is not about being an overnight success. It is not like the stock market either that you will set up a business and money will start multiplying. It is a real-world business. While you shouldn’t lose hope, you should also not always expect things to go as planned.