Filmmaker Indrajit Nattoji who had directed the 2009 film Aagey Se Right starring Shreyas Talpade, Kay Kay Menon, Mahi Gill, Shenaz Treasurywala and Shiv Panditt marks his return with the recently released film Aafat-e-Ishq featuring Neha Sharma, Amit Sial, Namit Das, Deepak Dobriyal and Ila Arun.
Indrajit began his career as a documentary filmmaker. He also made successful promos and found his niche as an advertisement honcho. He has directed and produced several commercials for renowned brands.
In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal, Indrajit talks about his transition from advertisements to films, cracking Bollywood and more.
What made you venture into filmmaking?
I wanted to be a filmmaker because it amalgamates all the arts and I love telling stories. As a director, filmmaking is challenging as you have to trust your vision to a team of sometimes more than 100. Everyone has to share one's vision as they create all the pieces of the storytelling puzzle, while as a director, only you have the entire picture in your head. My art helps me a lot in this. I make many sketches, paintings, and doodles, storyboards, which helps communicate that picture to my team.
Why did it take you over decade to make another feature film?
Aagey Se Right was my debut film made with a lot of heart. I learnt a lot from that experience and am lucky to have a theatrical release in my career! For me, my essential endeavour is to tell stories. And that can be in the form of a film, an ad -film or a painting. The first film also made me want to hone my filmmaking skills further. I went back to making advertising films with my production house, Blink Pictures and writing stories and scripts. And now I could tell another exciting story with Aafat-e-Ishq!
Is Bollywood difficult to crack into and sustain?
The thing is, I don't want to 'crack' Bollywood. I am an audio-visual storyteller and an artist first. If people invest in my stories and visual design skills, I am more than happy.
Do you have any idols or role models to look up to in terms of filmmaking?
Akira Kurosawa. He was an artist first, a painter and art teacher, and then a film director. As an artist and filmmaker, I always derive inspiration from his gigantic body of work.
If you had to share your experience about the transition you encounter from making ads to films…
Actually, there has never been a formal transition. I am fortunate that I have had the opportunity to slip into the various mode of storytelling, and I can do that with ease. And I love telling stories, be it with ad films, art installations or feature films.
Any tips for those who wish to explore the advertisement arena?
In Ad-films, your hero is the product. Celebrate and understand what you have to sell and weave a compelling story around that.
What are your plans going forward?
I have recently completed Visual Design and VFX production for a film released soon on a leading OTT platform. I have an ambitious web series in development and a film script in pre-production. Meanwhile, I am working on my following art collection- a series of on-location landscapes as I restart my travels once again.