Vineet Yadav horn and Ivory

I Strongly Believe in Originality and Being Me: Director Vineet Yadav

Ms. Divya Jay from Team CIFF chats up with Mr. Vineet Yadav, Director of the movie ‘HORN AND IVORY’ and understands his journey in becoming a director and what keeps him so interested in making films!

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I started my career as an officer in paramilitary forces. I quit in two years. Why? It was a routine job. After that I did my Ph.D. in Psychology and started lecturing. I quit this job in eight months, again I couldn’t take the routine. For a while I had no clue about where I was headed. Then one morning I had an epiphanic moment and I just knew that I wanted to make films. That’s how, I decided to spend my life as a filmmaker. I love the fact that every project brings with it new faces and new challenges.

Please share your journey about making ‘Horn and Ivory’.

In my career spanning almost three decades in the Mumbai film Industry, I met so many people who are driven by their dreams and yet I see them going forward in a totally different direction to their goals. Most of them claim and think that they are pursuing their passion, but in reality, they only want to become rich and famous. That’s what this film is about – the conflict between true and false dreams.

Which are your favourite films and who are your most liked filmmakers?

There are too many, but my all-time favorite is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. And my favourite filmmaker is Steven Soderberg.

What makes you like those filmmakers so much?

Largely because crime thriller is my genre. But also, because these filmmakers made quality movies that left a lasting impression on me.

Would you/Have you tried your hand at other roles than direction?

Yes, I have been Producer and Executive Producer in many projects other than writing and direction.

In a movie can the writer and director be 2 different people or should they always be the same person?

No, I don’t believe in the same person theory. May be the same or different. Doesn’t matter for me.

Tell us about your journey as a filmmaker. How did you start and how has the journey been till now?

I started out like many others. I came to Mumbai with 1500 rupees and a ton of confidence in my pocket, in 1996. Within six months of my arrival, I had the good fortune of being able to work with a movie called ‘Rui ka Bhojh’ which was being made for NFDC by Subhash Aggarwal. They already had 3 ADs on the team, I pleaded that he take me in, on a no-payment basis, as the 4th AD. He agreed and within the month I was working as the main AD. I actually got paid Rs 7000 for this film for the year.

But it was quite a journey! On my first day I was lugging clothes to the house of the film’s actress and I wondered what my father would think of his only son with a Ph.D in hand and having quit two government jobs, if he could see what I was doing with my life. The early days were hard but I was finally in a place where I wanted to be and so I stayed. This is a decision I never will regret.

Give us a background about your formal education. Is it really important to have a degree in filmmaking to become a director?

I have a Ph.D in Psychology. While my education has held me in good stead especially in the field of filmmaking where it is important to understand people’s psyches, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that a formal education is critical to filmmaking. Some people have been able to make brilliant movies even without a formal education while others may have been lucky to use their education and learnings to good effect. In my own case, understanding how people think has helped with my ability to create well-rounded characters in my scripts and it has also helped me in various aspects of Direction and Production for both these fields essentially need one to deal with people.

If you could go back in time and become a popular filmmaker from the past, which filmmaker would you choose to be and why?

I strongly believe in originality and being me. That is the essence of creativity. I am happy to have been born as Vineet Yadav, to see the world from my eyes and tell stories the way I like. So, I would not want to have been any other filmmaker, no matter how good or popular he or she was. I’m content at having been able to enjoy those films.

How do you feel about your film participating in the 21st Chennai International Film Festival?

Extremely grateful and very proud. Grateful because most festivals fall into the trap of going with established names in the film-world. Unless new talent is seen and recognized through festivals, there is no way that new types of films and fresh ideas can reach the market. Established filmmakers do not need the festival circuit to promote them. Since CIFF is an established film festival and yet has been proactive in highlighting lesser-known film-makers, we are both grateful and proud that we made the grade. It is truly an honour to be in this forum.