The Film Director
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As a kid, I was exposed to film making very early in life. I recall when I was around 4 or 5 years old, shooting on a set meant that audio was exposed on ‘film for sound’ in a van that was outside of the stage. I have seen people edit at the Moviola, then on 2 plate Steenbecks and then on 6 plate Steenbecks. Avid and FCP came later.

I lived in a joint family, comprising of a total of 10 people. Each night our whole family had dinner together and guess what was the topic most of the days. Movies and Screenplays. This had a profound effect on the growing kid called Vikram Tuli. He started to ‘see’ himself making movies.

As most of the family from my Maternal and Paternal sides were into film making, most of what I knew of film making I learnt being around my family.

At one point I started assisting Directors. My Gurus are Mr. Naresh Kumar (who is my My Father), Mr. Shantilal Soni, Mr. Rahul Rawail, Mr. David Dhawan and Mr. Sachin Pilgaonkar.

Sachinji taught me the most. Perhaps because I assisted him for the longest period of time. He is one of the most talented people I have known. His sense of music and screenplay needs special mention. I recall he telling me ‘I can teach you how to make movies but I can’t teach you how to feel… that you have to learn on your own’

So, one day, I thought now I know how to make movies. I had learnt that Film directors are responsible for overseeing creative aspects of a film. They develop the vision for a film and carry the vision out. They also direct what tone it should have and what an audience should gain from the cinematic experience. Directing a film is a kind of storytelling. They coordinate the actors’ moves and also may be involved in the writing, financing, and editing of a film.

The director works closely with the cast and crew to shape the film and may often take suggestions on pertinent issues.

The director also plays a key role in post-production. He or she works with the editor to ensure that the emotions of the scene appropriately reflect which character is driving the narrative. He also participates in the sound mix and musical composition of the film.

However, I did not learn the most essential aspect of film making. PEOPLE SKILLS.

This is a skill that most people learn, gradually, as they grow up, on their own. I had to struggle to learn it and even now it is my weakest skill.

The term “PEOPLE SKILLS” is used to include both psychological and social skills. People skills are understanding ourselves and moderating our responses, talking effectively and empathizing accurately, building relationships of trust, respect and productive interactions.

In short “the ability to communicate effectively with people in a friendly way, especially in business”.

GAWD…. That seems like a tall order. Moderating our responses? Building relationships?? Communicate effectively with people in a friendly way???

I had never heard of these things before, why was there a need to change? My Father and Mother tolerated me! My Brother tolerated me!! (heheh obviously they tolerated me, they love me) But this world would not tolerate me !!! I had to change.

People loved my script, they said my narration is out of this world; but no one signed me to do ‘Main…Joker’. Probably, it seemed that I was not to be trusted. So, if I wanted something to change I HAD TO change something. This change is a slow and tedious process for me. I grow as a person each day and yet I feel so far behind. What others seem to take for granted I continue to struggle with. I know I don’t seek perfection, I only seek growth and I see an iota of change now. I hope this growth rate will accelerate as I get better with it.

If not for the trust that was displayed by Mr. Kishan Chowdhary, Mr. Sunil Thadani & Mr. Rajeev Khandelwal, I would still be running pillar to post.

Now, it gets tougher. More scripts needed, better ideas needed and more ‘people skills’ needed. I continue to learn. For all those that aspire to make films all I can say is what I was told and learnt….

‘I can teach you how to make movies but I can’t teach you how to feel… that you have to learn on your own’ and also you’d better get along with people (even if you don’t like them hehehe). That is the only way. As Munnabhai had said….

Main Vinamra hoon…. (at least…for now )

More later

Vikram Tuli

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