He was a poet. He weaved his thoughts in words, embellished them with rhyme, played with metaphor, added glitter of adjective, knitted his emotions into colourful sentences – until he realised that his poesy was one dimensional. They depicted only his multicoloured dreams and imaginations. “I realised that paper is not a very effective medium for me to tell the stories of other people. That’s when I decided to become a filmmaker,” says Vishvak Khanderao, whose music video Vela Taaralu bagged the best video at the Mumbai International Short Film Festival-2014.
At an age when teenagers think of girls, booze and are often going through identity crisis, Vishvak decided he would make films to satiate his creative hunger, and hopefully, to earn his bread and butter as well. Living this dream he finished intermediate and then just like every other youngster enrolled for BTech. It was during his graduation days that Vishvak made his first short film.”I did graduation only to buy time to tell my parents that movies are my passion. I told them upfront that my movies might never be screened in theatres, I might never earn enough money to settle down in life, but whatever I make will satisfy me,” he recalls and adds that their support was unwavering.
Like every other budding filmmaker he also aspires to make meaningful films, but what makes him stand out in the crowd is that he wants to tell people’s story in a way people would want to listen. “Initially when I had started I thought thriller was the best genre to grab eyeballs but today I have drifted to drama and would love to make sci-fi and dark comedy as well,” the youngster says and adds that he has a creative eye that sees stories that others generally miss. “I can see stories and then tell them in a way better than most,” he says.
Vishvak, however, laments that he has just made 10 short films and three music videos in a span of two years during the time he studied direction at the LV Prasad Film and TV Academy in Chennai.
On an after thought he adds, “Unlike the common perception that cinema is only for entertainment, I feel its serious business and quality matter more than quantity.”
Evidently the Academy’s jury also agreed with Vishvak’s idea and awarded his film Samyuktam the best direction and best cinematography awards. This was despite the fact that the film was 27 minutes long even though the time frame allowed by the institute for a short film is just 10 minutes. “I was asked to edit the movie, but I refused as I felt editing would destroy it’s essence. Later I won awards for it.”
Though his music video won an international accolade, for Vishvak’s it’s Samyuktam that’s closer to his heart. The film has also bagged awards for best film and best cinematography at cut.in film fest organised by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
While agreeing that such awards are morale boosters, the young filmmaker feels they don’t count as achievements. “My thoughts on paper were copied exactly on the visual medium and that’s what clicked for Samyuktam, he reflects modestly.
The poet that his is, Vishvak’s inspiration is his grandfather’s poetry. In fact his current project, a script for Telugu televison, is also taken from his grandfather’s poem. “I am showing how a sentence--’What greater gain must I claim than your presence in my own loss’--in 10 different perspectives,” he reveals.
Once he winds up this,Vishvak will begin work on his feature film, the script for which is ready.
The young filmmaker, however, dreams of making some contribution to the cinema. “Like my grandfather’s poems have influence me today, I wish someday, years later someone would be influenced my thoughts as well,” he reflects.