Afternoon Voice

‘Keeping a story within you is a crime’

An aspiring director— Sunny Sharma, gained prominence in filmmaking after his short film ‘Manorath’ received acclamation at a very beginning stage of his career. He also worked for various ad films of the popular brands. This young and talented people’s person, who is keen to explore all parts of the life and cinema, will surprise everyone with his way of belief in storytelling. Sunny Sharma shared his journey from a student to a proficient filmmaker and his aim with our correspondent Twinkle Mehta.

Your film had entered the prestigious Student Academy Awards 2015, can you enlighten us with your journey to Student Academy Awards at such an early stage of your career?

It is an honour for me and my entire team and all the credit goes to my alma mater Whistling Woods International for giving me a platform to reach out to the audience across the globe. Every year, one student film from all the CILECT member film schools worldwide participate in this competition and we were very proud to represent Whistling Woods.

What are the challenges you faced at the start of your filmmaking career?

I was in my last year of graduation when I decided to make filmmaking as my career. It was a major shift since I was on my way to pursuing MBA. My parents have always supported me and I’m blessed to have them by my side. To excel in any field one needs to get a formal education and film school taught me the ‘Grammar of Filmmaking’. To watch movies and to make movies is a different thing. It was surely difficult at first but with the faculty and classmates, I sailed through it.

What was your thought behind making ‘Manorath’?

In the final semester at the film school we work on our Diploma Film. At that point it becomes your most ambitious project. I was struggling with stories to choose from. Had a couple of original ideas and a few short stories, I finally decided with the help of my mentor Ganga Mukhi to adapt Rabindranath Tagore’s short story ‘Postmaster’. It started of as a period film and with many drafts it changed a lot and what remained was the theme of the story. I felt that in the present day scenario the story is relevant and I tried to keep the essence of the story and make it more relatable. To rationalise in any relationship is difficult. Emotions are far more important than reasons.

After directing films, how different it was making TV commercial advertisements?

The crux is storytelling. We all are storytellers and that remains the constant, the only difference is the medium. I feel advertisement is a difficult medium since there’s comparatively more pressure, less prep time and the most challenging thing is to tell a story in 30 seconds. But herein lies the beauty, when a 30 sec Ad entertains, educates and engages the audience, the efforts of the ad filmmaker and the team are all worth.

Why did you choose the path of direction?

As a director you get to be a part of almost all processes in filmmaking and I really want to be a part or contribute in any capacity to make a film. All the stages of production are exciting and with every film, every story the process changes a little and as a filmmaker one gets to learn and experience things one could never ever have imagined of. As a director one always remains a student and there’s so much out there to learn. Film direction gives me a purpose in life, it gives me a chance to explore.

What inspires you to make a film or an ad?

Stories! Not just films or ads, everything around us has a story. And a story that moves you, makes you or breaks you, you need to share it with the rest of the world. Keeping a story to yourself, I feel is a crime and I don’t want to commit one, so I use films as a medium to share it with everyone.

When you say that you have worked with professionals from all walks of life, at the beginning of your career, how does that justify?

Filmmaking is one of those fields wherein people from all walks of life come together and work. From a Spot Boy to a Superstar, the efforts from all are to tell the story in the best possible way. And with every story one gets to meet new people, go to new places and understand different cultures, it gives one an opportunity to get close and understand these people, places and cultures.

Which directed work of yours has been recognised so far? Why?

Manorath, inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s short story ‘Postmaster’ was an official entry to the Student Academy Awards, 2015. It won the ‘Best Screenplay’ award at Pune International Film Festival, 2015, ‘Best Editing’ in RNFF and travelled to prestigious national and international film festivals.

‘Silence is Bliss’ music videos released worldwide by Sony Music featured music maestros Naveen Kumar, Grammy award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Sivamani, Stephen Devassy and Ojas Adhiya.

Shaadi.com’s #NotForSale ad campaign was widely appreciated and talked about on afaqs, adageindia, Vagabomb, Campaign India, Mad over Marketing and Buzzfeed India.

What are your future goals?

I’ve a couple of feature length scripts and it is in the pitching stage. I hope to bring new and exciting stories through my films. I look forward to life to surprise me and give me opportunities to do what I love.