In this new series, we’ll introduce you to the rising stars in the film industry. These are names you may not know now, but we think you’re going to hear a lot about them in the future.
Filmmaker Hardik Mehta grew up in a middle-class home on a regular diet of Hindi films. He got an engineering degree and even worked as a dairy engineer at an Amul factory in Surat before shifting toward his passion – films. He got a communication degree from Jamia Millia Islamia and started his movie journey as an assistant and script supervisor on films like Lootera and Queen.
Mehta went on to co-write Trapped for Vikramaditya Motwane. In 2015, he made Amdavad Ma Famous, a documentary (now on Netflix) which captured the kite flying festival in Ahmedabad which won him the National Award for Best Non-Feature Film. Last year, his first feature film, Kaamyaab, had its premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival. More recently Mehta announced his first mainstream feature – a horror comedy starring Rajkummar Rao and Jahnvi Kapoor.
On The Constant Waiting To Make His First Film
I think the most important thing is what drives you to tell the story? My voice will not start or my formation as an artist will not start if I have not told this story or if this story is not out of my system. Because it’s the thing you have felt the most at that point of time and you have to keep that flame inside going. During that time you’re also engaged in other activities around filmmaking. At that time I was also making a documentary, another short fiction, and I was co-writing Trapped. So, I think the most important thing is you keep working. Filmmaking has now become very democratic as a medium so there are no more excuses to not make a film. When you know there are small little successes coming from these products and experiences, you realise this journey might be worthwhile and shape up together in something like Kaamyaab.
On The Advantages Of Being A Script Supervisor
I think it’s one of the most interesting jobs because if you’ve learnt filmmaking, you know that the script supervisor is the representative of an editor and writer on the set. He’s the link between the editor and director and there’s so much to learn because your right in front of the DP, actors and director and you know where the film is getting made. So that became a big school to learn from. And also a way to earn your bread and survive here. Also, you meet interesting people because everyone looks out for script supervisors and that leads to offices and getting work.
On The Importance Of Writing Your First Film
You have to write it yourself. You can read all the books – Syd Field, Save The Cat. Read whatever you want but you have to be extremely disciplined about writing. 9:30 am in the morning you have to be in front of that Microsoft Word or Final Draft, there is no other way. Sometimes it’s going to be really boring, sometimes it’s going to challenge you, but there’s no other way out. You just have to be at it. I don’t think I’m the most talented writer but I think I’m a determined writer, I get to it and I just write and that’s how a story will form its shape. That’s how Kaamyaab got made.
On The Struggles Of Releasing A Small Film
I think right now the theatres have gone into more of a ‘large scale historicals’ and event films space. So for a small film, it is a struggle. Having said that, we have great avenues now with Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar. So I think we can find our voice in between them somewhere. I think 2018 showed us some really good small films which actually cut through things like box office and number of screens and all of that. So I think there is a way out there.