The Craft of Living Many Lifetimes, the Craft of Filmmaking: Harsh Vardhan Singh
Filmmaking is the process of making a film which involves a number of discrete stages including an initial idea through screenwriting, shooting, sound recording and reproduction, editing, and finally screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition. Gliding through all these routines and forming new ones at the same time, we had with us one individual who has risked his career numerous times before making a shiny mark in the international film fraternity.
Harsh Vardhan Singh, who describes himself as Director, Storyteller, Explore and an Experimental foodie, has a belief in educating children because they are the future of the nation. He comes from a military school in Banglore, did his +2 in FM junior college, Balasore, Odisha and finally ending up as an undergrad at NIT Durgapur in the year 2006 where his professional work got kick-started. Harsh had been deeply devoted to children’s social causes & filmmaking since his NIT Durgapur college life, where he founded ‘Bihari More Education Project’ & ‘Paper Weight Entertainment’ to support & live the same passion. From dropping-out of IIM Indore to working at Lowe Lintas Advertising Agency Mumbai to presently running his 2 organisations full-time, Harsh has showcased his film works at various film festivals, including the prestigious Cannes!
Hoping to pass on the wisdom, Roots NITR held an interactive session on the 2nd of April inviting Harsh Vardhan Singh to be one of the keynote speakers. In his seminar on ‘Digital Filmmaking and Online Video content scenario’, he gave a brief introduction on filmmaking, various domains of digital filmmaking, gave examples of some of his famous low budget short digital movies and presented clips of his journey from square one to today.
Harsh Vardhan started by speaking about the scope of opportunities from MNCs & brand marketing to production house direction & production departments stressing upon digital marketing agencies and copywriting positions; finally ending it about how freelancing can be a very crucial platform to start something on your own.
He then went ahead introduce low-budget digital films like ‘Stanley ka Dabba’, ‘Girl in yellow boots’ and ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’. Speaking about evolution of digital films, he mentioned how his short film got recognised at Indore film festival and later on went to grab accolades for the young filmmaker. During 2008, when he was still a student of NIT Durgapur, he made an amateur film “Voice” dealing with using the power of Internet to reach out to far-flung remote areas through VOIP technology to spread education among the masses. The film was nominated for the President’s Award. In that short film, Harsh Vardhan had cast the children of Bihari More (a place near NIT Durgapur). It was a turning point in his career. It was critically acclaimed and gave the young director much fame. However, that was not the only thing to why this was a checkpost, because, upon deep retrospection, he felt in his heart that the same children he had used for making his film which was about spreading the magic of education were themselves uneducated. Others would have suffered silently and moved on, but he decided to act. He along with a few like-minded friends started giving weekend classes to the kids of Bihari More. Gradually more volunteers joined in and thus was the birth of “Bihari More Education Project” or BMEP.
He described his relationship with the visionary director and his mentor R. Balki as a guru-shishya one and expressed that he has learnt a lot from him. Having made a short film for the Indian Army, he plans to make one for the Indian Navy and release it on this year’s August 15th on the eve of Independence Day. By getting enthusiasts familiar with the concept of the art he loved, catering to the various queries from the excited crowd, making people realize the role of every contributor to a film, including the director, and, most importantly, in a one-to-one conversation, revealing the immense support his college had provided in his infant stages of filmmaking, the dynamic personality painted a very colourful ambience on the lazy weekend evening.