Updated: Jun 18, 2021
Kamlesh Acharya is an Engineer-MBA by qualification, a copywriter by profession, a film-maker by ramification, a writer by passion, a thinker through introspection and a seeker through meditation.
He is also an award-winning playwright, a play director, an actor, a lyricist, a scriptwriter and a content writer who left a promising Business Consulting career in Dubai (after having worked with the likes of KPMG, Oracle and Emirates Airlines) and returned to India to explore the full potential of the stories that he wanted to tell.
His latest short film 'Crisis' explores the story of a corporate high-achiever who returns to her village in India after losing her job, and a lot more in New York during the Subprime Crisis. There she bumps into her simpleton village friend, who enthusiastically engages a reluctant her in a curiously inane conversation which ends with an unexpected epiphany moment for her.
15 Mins | Hindi | Drama, Comedy | 2021 | India
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Kamlesh Acharya
When and why did you choose filmmaking as your career?
I had been toying with the idea of film-making for quite a few years. I dabbled into various aspects of film-making like scriptwriting, acting, joint directing, etc. until 2018, when I seriously started approaching people for making the short films that I wanted to make, so I could tell the stories that I wanted to tell.
Where did you find the story for your first film?
My first short film ‘Maasumiyat’ was a two-line poem I wrote in 2004-05, when I was working with Oracle. In fact, it was repeatedly nudging me to be made visually. Slowly the visual form grew on me and I realized that a 2 minute film that allows me to make all the mistakes I wanna make and still learn filmmaking would be a great starting step. And so, ‘Maasumiyat’ was conceived. The fact that it won ‘Best Children’s film’ and got me a Silver Award for ‘Best Debut Director’ in some film festivals was pure bonus.
What has been the journey like after your first film?
Challenging but exciting. But God has been kind. The first two poetic montage films were so strong at the writing level that more and more experienced people wanted to work with me. Some helped in kind while some friends started providing monetary support so I started making better and better films, I think. ;-) … the wink is important.
Tell us something about your latest film – Crisis I wrote ‘Crisis’ as a short play in 2012 during my KPMG days in Dubai. Since then this play has been very well received in Dubai and various cities of India. Bengaluru folks have even translated it into Kannada and they perform it often.
Actually, the story is so simple yet powerful, life transforming and much needed in these trying times, that I went ahead and shot it. The awards are supporting my confidence that it’s a good film.
It’s a very simple village story. A corporate high-achiever returns to her village in India after losing her job, and a lot more in New York during the Subprime Crisis. There she bumps into her simpleton village friend, who enthusiastically engages a reluctant her in a curiously inane conversation which ends with an epiphany moment for her.
Why this subject matter for your film?
I always believed that there is a lot of wisdom in foolishness. Sometimes stupid people say things that hide a lot of depth.
Through this story, I wanted to create a scenario where an intelligent person is forced to have a conversation with an idiot. But then I wanted to create a possibility where this foolish person gives a life transforming wisdom to the intelligent person without even knowing the magnitude of what he has given.
That I feel is the genuine beauty of this story and film.
What amount of research do you put into a film project and how do you go about it?
I’m more of an intuitive writer and most of my stories have a predominant inner conflict. So I largely do secondary research and referencing to the extent possible. But if a story demands, I try my best to get those aspects right. For instance, in Crisis, we hired a language consultant to get the villager’s dialect accent right.
What are the challenges you face in making a film?
There are three key challenges: Finance, finance & finance. LOL. Rest is manageable.
Do you face any problems in releasing your films?
No and yes. No because I have a YouTube channel ‘Kamfucious Productions’ as a last resort for my niche content. Yes, because a niche channel doesn't get the volumes. Luckily for me, Crisis has been accepted by Pocket Films, which will hopefully take care of the volumes and OTT outreach for me. I hope that the visibility it gives me will open doors for me. It's a significant milestone in my filmmaking career.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
Unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you have to go through the initial grind of doing the work before people start noticing and financing you. If your work is good, sooner or later financing and distribution challenges will diminish and you will shine through. That has been my experience so far.
Any other interesting facts about your films or your filmmaking process/journey so far, that you may like to cover. My films will always stay with you long after you’ve watched them. I work very hard on the script because my core strength is writing. Be it my poetry, short story, play or film, I don’t make my art public until I feel that the content is strong enough to shift the perspective of the reader/viewer.
Watch his latest Short Film, Crisis, here.