Anand Gandhi, who directed the highly acclaimed Ship of Theseus, started his life in the arts at an early age
Pic: Pabitra Das
The turning points in my life have been about what I have learnt and all that I have accomplished. I believe that my film, Ship of Theseus, is a sum total of all the milestones in my life. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012 and went on to win numerous awards and accolades like the Transilvania Trophy for Best Film. Besides, when the members of the Critics' Circle, UK were invited to vote for films that changed their life, Ship of Theseus figured among the 15 that they chose. It's the first feature film that I've directed and its success is a huge encouragement for me. Now there's an ongoing campaign to pitch it for an Oscar nomination for the year.
To me, turning points are not only about achievements but are also about discovering and learning. A gamut of thinkers, philosophers, authors and filmmakers that I came across at various junctures of my life impacted my life in different ways.
The first turning point in my life was perhaps when as a child of five or six I came across abridged biographies of scientists including Newton and C.V. Raman, which inspired me hugely. Subsequently, in my early teens, the philosophies of great thinkers like Ramakrishna and Vivekananda greatly influenced my thoughts. Later, while I was doing a film appreciation course at the Film and Television Institute of India, I was completely blown over by the works of filmmakers like Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky. All these people, their works and ideas inspired my creativity and helped mould my sensibility.
I started writing plays at an early age. At 17 I wrote the play Badhte Kadmon ke Nishan, which theatre personality Prakash Buddhisagar directed and presented successfully. When I was 19 I wrote another play, Sugandhi, which was a success, travelled widely and was well-appreciated.
Another definitive milestone in my life was acting in a play called Prithvi directed by Alok Ulfat. It was my first shot at acting and the project took me places, literally. We performed in urban neighbourhoods, on the banks of the Ganges and even the forests of the Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand — it was a brilliant experience.
In 2003, my directorial debut with the short film Right Here, Right Now, was yet another milestone. It received a lot of critical appreciation and travelled to New York, Rome and Switzerland. In fact, it was declared the Best Film (International Short) at the Syracuse International Film Festival, New York, and was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.