After studying computer science from Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Pune, and pursuing MBA from Amity University, Delhi, Anant Raina realised there was no way by which he could be a convincing seller. Call it instinct or the surge of creative freedom, he then decided that his passion lay in photography and making films. Ever since—for almost six years now—Anant has made short films, ad films as well as 60-minute films.
The 31-year-old son of renowned theatre and film personality MK Raina, was in the city on Sunday to showcase his works in Sunday with the Filmmaker—a monthly affair organised by Chandigarh Creative Cinema Circle.
Natwar and Nandi, Mann Faqeeri and Zohra Sehgal—An Interview—Anant’s films are anything from nine minutes to 60 minutes long. They also stand out for not being technological snobs, a fact Anant doesn’t hide. “Cameras and computers are only tools to aid in storytelling. They shouldn’t be allowed to act as hurdles. At times, even a film shot on a small camera does well. Once, a friend made a song on Valentine’s Day which we shot randomly.
Our video managed to get 30,000 views on YouTube and 80,000 views on Yahoo,” says Anant. Natwar and Nandi, for one, is a nine-minute film shot on his iPhone. “It was made when I was in Puri, Odisha, for Bring Your Own Film Festival (BYOFF). I came across this colourful character called Natwar who drove around on an Enfield Bullet that he named Nandi. He considered Nandi his ‘other wife’ and had a music system installed on his bike. I shot, edited and screened him on the last day of the festival and everyone liked it,” Anant tells us. We wonder if he should be called a documentary or an independent filmmaker, but Anant decides against both. “I would just like to be called a filmmaker. Be it fiction or non-fiction, I shoot whatever interests me. I’m more interested in showing the real stories,” he reasons.
Anant started his career as a writer for children’s shows such as Gal Gali Sim Sim (aired on Doordarshan) and others aired on Cartoon Network and Pogo. He has also worked on a variety of documentaries, music videos, corporate and ad films, having even won the first prize for an ad film at an international online ad film competition organised by MOFILM in 2009.
Shedding light on two of his other films, Anant says, “Mann Faqeeri delves into the depth and complexity of Kashmiri Sufi poetry and music. With Kashmir’s landscape in the background, it takes viewers on a journey through these endangered art forms. Zohra Sehgal, meanwhile, needs no introduction. We compiled this film after conducting two interviews with the actress when she was 99 years old. She is now 101. In the film, Zohra speaks about her life, work and family.
Interspersed with moving poetry recitations, it is truly a portrait of an artist in her own words.” Currently, Anant is engaged in post-production work of Badshah Lear: Shakespeare in the Valley —a film directed by his father, of which he is the director of photography.