“I believe Mr.Kalmadi was napping” says Akshat Nauriyal during his venture
in Tihar Jail, not convicted for felony, we promise. But he had the conviction to drop his job at a reputed company (name with-held to save their face) to start a venture he most passionately felt for, “Now Delhi” (http://www.nowdelhi.tv/).
Moving from the secure corporate job to starting your own venture?
I’d been working in the television industry for about 5 years with a lifestyle channel. I was really jaded by the end of it. Content wise the Indian television industry is based on dumbing down its audiences rather than
challenging them. I couldn’t relate to most of the work I was doing there. “Now Delhi” had been brewing in my head for a while, and I had already started working towards it long before I quit. So one thing
led to another and I eventually quit my job and started Now Delhi. It’s been quite a ride, going from a cushy job to the shark filled open seas of an indie life, but its deeply gratifying too.
Why choose documentary film-making as a medium as opposed to any other firm?
Because real life has as much happening in it as any fiction movie you’ll ever see. There are always a several thousand stories surrounding you at all times. It’s like different channels beaming at different frequencies. If you can tune into them, then there is a whole world waiting for you to unravel it. Also, I like films that are believable
where most people can identify themselves in some of the characters.
The documentary medium is all about that.
Do you have an inclination to music and its subcultures?
Well I’d hope so, I’m a drummer and have played and still play with a few bands in the ‘scene’. I play for Another Vertigo Rush and Teddy Boy Kill. For me personally, whether professionally on stage or just
in the jam-room for the plain love of it, I see it as a life long journey.
Being a musician and through this medium, I’ve met so many other talented people all trying to do their own thing with their medium of choice. Not just music, but across varied forms of creativity. Artists, performers, innovators, all trying to carve a niche for themselves. No one really noticed them. You had to be part of a scene to know about it. Now Delhi came out of the need to change that.
Most interesting project that you’ve worked on?
Well, I’d say most of them have been really interesting,. I don’t really shoot a story with a rigid narrative in my head. I have a basic vibe that I sense and the rest of it sort of builds along as I shoot and talk to people. So each project is like a different experience.
led to another and I eventually quit my job and started Now Delhi.
The Menwhopause story was quite interesting because when I heard Tihar Jail, I imagined I’d get the whole ‘going-through-jail cells-with-extremely-dangerous-prisoners-causing-riots-behind-bars’ experience. But the men in uniform cordially ushered us to this open courtyard with a stage setup, which could have been in the middle of Connaught Place. There was nothing ‘Tihar Jail’ about the setting, except the occasional sniper on the towers around us. I believe Mr.
Kalmadi was napping.
Do you ever have to rely on corporate assignments to make your money?
Yes. That’s how the money comes. And I have no issues with corporate work. In fact, I feel brands are opening up to innovation and creative ways of representing themselves. Each project can be treated as the potential to grow and learn newer things. Plus the website is self funded, so paid gigs are even more important.
So I freelance as a director / consultant on some projects and some I do just as a DOP or editor. Now Delhi is also a studio which does all sorts of Video and mixed-media work, with a lot of Internet based content. I’m also part of a ‘newly-formed-yet-unnamed-media-collective’ with BLOT (Basic Love of Things), who do a lot of cool work in the audio-visual space themselves. Together we are trying to do work across a range of content curation / moving image / motion graphic space.
What about draws you towards a project ?
As long as I feel that there’s a unique story, which is coming from a real and honest place. The world we live in can get extremely heavy with constant stories of despair and disenchantment. Even a simple story from within all this clutter and chaos which is true and real, could be inspiring. I don’t like to cover stories that are already in
the public eye. I’d rather cover stories unique to the website.
Do you do collaborative projects with other film makers or do you prefer to work on your own?
Now Delhi till now has been all me. But I am looking for more people
to work with. Also, I’m completely open to collaborative projects. In fact there is a larger idea with Now Delhi, where I’d like to create a network of film-makers across cities who can generate similar content. I would be
happy to share it on the website. So in case you are a filmmaker, especially in Bombay / Calcutta / Bangalore and would like to collaborate with us, drop in a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there any documentary film-makers or anyone you’ve been inspired by and what about them or their work inspired you?
Personally for me film and music as mediums are interconnected, one flows into the other as far as inspiration goes. I’d be as inspired by great bands as I would by filmmakers. Amongst filmmakers, Spike Jonze is a huge inspiration. I am a sucker for his aesthetic and style of telling a story. Michael Gondry is another person whose vivid style is a huge inspiration. Plus both these guys started making music videos and went onto making films. That’s something I’d like to do, make music videos for Indian bands. But the bands I’d like to work with are not mainstream and probably won’t have money for music videos anytimesoon.
You’re on your own. How do you still find the time to make music and practise with bands?
I feel that one can have several creative potentials in life. The aim is to be able to give each of them its own space, and figure out a way for all of them to co-exist. It’s an on-going battle, that I am nowhere close to mastering. But I guess that’s what the rest of my life is for. Hopefully there’s a time and place for everything, and I’m in it for the long run, so no pressure.
Have you submitted any of your projects to documentary film festivals or big screenings?
No. I haven’t submitted to any festivals yet. As far as screenings go, Now Delhi films have been screened in Australia, Poland and Germany as part of different Indie nights. No big screenings yet. Anyone interested?
Interviewed by: Leilah Zeenat Hazarika
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