Isn’t it great when you meet someone so dynamic and you couldn’t stop yourself to ask “How do you do it all?” This is what we did ask to Ravie Solanky, Founder of Whatashort & Masaledani Productions. He is a Delhi based Entrepreneur, a filmmaker, a designer and a photographer. So, it’s like wearing many hats. We had a chance to talk to him about his journey and love for the arts.
How did your journey into the world of film making begin ?
Ok! This is the easy one. I always feel good answering this question. This all happened in 2012 when I met Anurag Kashyap. Let me tell you he is the only filmmaker I am following and always waits for his next work. So it was in some interview I met him and learned more about him.
I believe you don’t always need something big or small to get inspired. Sometimes you step on a bug and you get inspired. He influenced me. I started learning more about filmmaking online. I had the sense of photography and visualisation so it helped me in grasping the filmmaking subject faster, then I started taking part in video related things and made a short film with my colleague and then I kept on making videos and short films. This is how I entered into cinema.
What do you do on the professional front?
(Laughs) This is the question I find particularly clueless. Sometimes it’s bit difficult to describe yourself to the world. Well, I am a professional visual communicator, professional photographer, a filmmaker and an Entrepreneur. Sorry but I am not a one word answer to this question (giggles).
Tell us about Masaledani Production ?
Masaledani productions is a Delhi based designing studio started way back in 2009 when I was in my second year. It wasn’t masaledani when it was started, it got rebranded as Masaledani in 2013 and since then it’s providing services like branding & identity, web & graphic designing, web development, video production and more.
Apart from films, what’s your other passion ?
Designing is my passion. When I am not designing I do research & learn new things about my subjects and yes I love singing 😉
What is Whatashort all about?
Whatashort is simply an answer to the question “Where can I find best short films?” and “How can I promote my short film?”. It’s an answer to both the questions. Basically through whatashort we’re trying to lessening the pain of a young filmmaker who is just starting and wants to learn about filmmaking. It’s also a database of short films where one can watch best & award winning short films from around the globe.
What’s made you set up a festival for short films?
See being a short filmmaker I’ve always wanted a good audience for my film. Actually a short filmmaker’s priority is always audience who watch and support his creation. When we started Whatashort, we had this thing in mind very clear to provide an eye to the short film which can watch, critique or praise the film and festivals are the best places to do this. Festivals gives you a chance to interact with other fellow filmmakers and learn new things. We believe these type festival should keep on happening in cities.
How was the experience of setting up a short film festival? Did you face any hassles while setting it up?
The experience of setting up WIIFF was great. We were not expecting so much audience’s love & support. We were getting compliments throughout the event that it was well organised & managed. One thing which boosted me up when one guy compared our festival’s film collection with other renowned (I don’t want to reveal the name) festival’s collection and he called their’s gross. This was something I wasn’t expecting. There were no hassles as such it was a smooth going event for us. Our team managed managed it well.
There’s this idea that short films will take over traditional in a matter of time. What’s your take on this?
It’s a digital era. Everybody is having smartphone with Internet access and this internet is being used in watching videos, short films & more. No doubt, in coming years short films will make it’s own place but won’t take over the traditional 70mm 2.5hr long drama. We have to understand this that traditional won’t get erased easily. We have different audience & creators for both the sections. We should think on creating a new short film industry towards which whatashort has already taken few steps ahead.
More and more mainstream actors are coming into the short film genre. Why do you think that’s happening?
I think there are honestly two reasons behind this. Digital medium is enhancing day by day. It has become very easier to connect with fans and audience it’s just a click away. Make a short film and put it online. So mainstream actors have found another way to be in front of their audience and fans which is much more easier and convenient. And the other reason would be their support to short films. By doing so, they are supporting the short film industry which is actually a need of the hour. Short films are produced more than the Bollywood features in India but who knows about short films? Very less people. So if mainstream actors work in short films it receives more audience.
What do you think is the one difference between the Indian short films and the foreign short films?
There are many things which keeps us apart from the short films made in foreign countries. First being the script. Whether it’s bollywood movies or short films, strong script is the only place where we’re lacking. You know content is the king. We don’t have shahrukh khan in short films so we need to have our short film’s script strong. I won’t say technology because foreign short filmmakers uses the same camera what we uses. I would say we need more dedication and seriousness towards short film making. Picking up the camera, taking few shots and compiling them together is not a short film. A Short filmmaking process requires the same thing as the bollywood filmmaking process requires but on a small scale.
Finally, do you think there should be a censor board for short films?
For short films? I don’t want it for feature films also. Censoring means putting an opaque on filmmaker’s vision, his ideas. A film is a compilation of a filmmaker’s visions & ideas in an organised manner and I don’t want to ruin that by putting a censor to it. I don’t even understand the concept of writing “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health” on actor smoking scenes. When you know that it’s harmful and you smoke then you won’t stop even if you see these type of writings. I believe we need to modify few things in cinema rules or acts or whatever.