Divyansh Pandit’s latest short film Kashmiriyat is receiving a good response. From starting off as an assistant director alongside Rajkumar Santoshi to directing his own short films, he has come a long way in his career.
At the age of 20, Divyansh Pandit started his production company, Wild Buffaloes Entertainment. So far, he has made amazing short films like Lallan From Allahabad, Tere Jaisa Yaar Kahan, Raat Baaki Baat Baaki ans Hickey. Koimoi got a chance to talk to Divyansh about his latest short film and much more.
Here’s the conversation:
From working as an assistant director to owning your production house and making short films, how has the journey been so far?
I first worked with Rajkumar Santoshi as an assistant director. I had unofficially joined him as an AD for Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani. Subsequently, I officially joined him on Phata Poster Nikla Hero. Once that film was done, I decided to start my own production house. Before that, I had started my company, but I had not registered it. But it was after Phata Poster Nikla Hero that I started making short films seriously. After that, we started getting short films, lots of nominations and awards at film festivals and so on. We got 4 consecutive Filmfare award nominations also for to our work. Due to all our films that we were making initially, we started getting celebrated actors like Jackie Shroff, Satish Kaushik and now Zarina Wahab. I’m in talks with a couple of more celebs who are genuinely good and they really want to work with us. That is a great motivation and morale booster. One of the veterans, Pradeep Sarkar, he presented one of our short films. I had requested him that you’ve made a lot of films that are women-oriented and our short film Hickey did speak a lot about women. He said he loved it and thereby presented it as well. So, the journey has been steady, slow and organic. I’m very happy the way it is going. I’ve signed my first web series and very soon, we will be announcing it. The producer will do that.
Despite working with Rajkumar Santoshi as an AD for commercial film like Phata Poster Nikla Hero, your short films, including Kashmiriyat, cater to social issues. Is that your area of interest?
I have assisted Rajkumar Santoshi and I was extremely influenced by his work. When I say influenced by his work, I don’t mean only Phata Poster, he has made films like Pukaar, Khakee, Damini, Ghayal and others. So, he has made films on social issues also. I’ve also been a fan of Mani Ratnam, Sriram Raghavan and the older version of Ram Gopal Varma. These are my influencers. Yes, I did work on Phata Poster and APKGK, but since I wanted to work with Raj ji, I got to work on these two films. It’s because these are the only last 2 films that he made. I wanted to work with him during ‘The Legend of Bhagat Singh’, but sadly we did not. Unfortunately, When I finally got a chance with him on Battle Of Saragarhi with Randeep Hooda, that film got shelved.
I’m a Kashmiri myself. So I always wanted to say this story but I was waiting for the right time. I was waiting for myself to get matured enough as a filmmaker who can tell the story in 26 mins. I think in these 26 mins, we have covered the decent amount of perspective and untold perspective of Kashmir.
While making Kashmiriyat, were you worried about the response/criticism?
Number 1, a lot of people told me that I will face backlash for making a short film on Kashmir. Of course, it has the potential to go viral but once it goes, be prepared to face the backlash from people with hidden agendas.
Number 2, they said, you are going all out. You are leaving no stone unturned as far as the promotion is concerned. My answer to that is, constructive criticism on my film is fine. If someone doesn’t like the film as far as its treatment and creativity is concerned, it’s fine. But if someone has issues with the content of my short film, the questions I’m raising, then there’s a lot of introspection that is required. Somewhere there’s a guilt which is not making one accept what’s there. What we have shown is that Kashmiriyat is clearly unbiased. We have not taken any side or are demeaning any religion. We are not targetting any community. But the truth that has to come out, has to come out.
Tell us about your next projects?
My next short film is definitely a social issue. That social issue talks about harmony and peace. It is co-written by Aamir Bengali and Siddhartha Tiwari.