Direction Dreams: ‘I won’t quit trying to become a filmmaker’
This weekly column brings to you a promising assistant director, and his aspirations and this week it is Barath Neelakantan, assistant director of Arun Vaidyanathan
Why filmmaking? How did your journey commence ?
I’m a loner who never really had the time or inclination to participate in sports or other physical activities. Films was what I turned to, and I got exposed to them by my father. He accompanied to a national talent exam once and right after it, he took me to a theatre to watch the screening of the movie, The Police Story.
While every other dad was busy discussing the exam paper with their child, mine was discussing the film.
I quit my corporate job around my mid-thirties, after gaining enough experience as a HR executive, and decided to devote myself to a career in films.
How did this experience help you in filmmaking?
My experience there has helped me develop a useful tool for the production department. It is like a production bible. I made this available on the cloud and made it accessible to everyone. Anyone can refer to it to learn about what will be shot the next day, and the requirements of the various departments.
Think of it like the calligraphy course that Steve Jobs undertook, which helped him during the entrepreneurial days of Apple.
What if filmmaking doesn’t work out?
I can’t bear to think about filmmaking not working out. And generally, I have quit something only when after reaching a saturation point; not because it hasn’t worked out. In fact, I walked out of the sets of a recent film because of some issues, but the producer called me back. I’m not calling filmmaking quits until I reach somewhere.
What’s the oddest thing you have done as an assistant director?
The whole part of being an AD itself was odd considering I come from a corporate culture where I headed national teams. To answer your question, I guess holding the slippers of a female actress could count. The actress was sweet though and we later became excellent friends. But due to her costume, she could not be too mobile. This was a situation I never thought I’d find myself in.
What do you like and dislike about Arun’s school of filmmaking?
Arun and I are good friends. Neither has he insisted that I address him as ‘boss’ or ‘sir’ nor have I done that. I call him by his name, and that speaks a lot about our relationship. As a friend, I guess I could say that he is a little too soft sometimes. He has worked with Hollywood technicians and here, people may take advantage of his style. There are countless number of things which I like about him. For example, he always maintains his cool.
What did you learn from Arun Vaidyanathan ?
I learnt not only how to extract work, but whom to extract work from.
What’s one area of filmmaking that you are having a tough time with?
Writing screenplay for a solid script is a tough task.
Who’s the dream cast of your debut film?
I’ma big fan of Kamal. But yet again I believe that the script is the hero of the movie.