Movie making is all about experimenting with the oddly familiar. And what better way to explore it by entertaining to a familiar beat. This could easily be local filmmaker Rohan Sabharwal’s clap call, or rather rhythm call. The 30-year-old award-winning short filmmaker has been roped in, by electronic music maverick Moby, to shoot a music video for his new track ‘Wait for me’.
The only catch being that the four-minute music short is a part of a bank of contest videos on Moby’s website,mobygratis.com and the winning short will be aired worldwide, as the signature Moby track. The London Film School graduate has worked with Brit TV actors like Dave Brook (Dr Quinn, Medicine Show) and J C Mac (The X-Factor, 45). Sabharwal is now attempting to spearhead a short movie revolution in his native Mumbai, along with Nauheed Cyrusi, Natasha Suri and Ashwin Mushran.
Motion picture for free music
“I was using Moby’s music for my movies, because it’s largely royalty free. It’s all online and easily accessible,” explains Sabharwal, who got an email from Moby on YouTube where his videos get tagged. The message read: “The videos from the album Wait For Me have all been made by friends of mine who were given complete creative control. I think it’s an amazing and honest effort. I’m having a competition where mobygratis users can win $5,000 (approx. Rs 2.5 lakh) to make a video for ‘Wait for me’. Thanks, Moby.”
“I could finally step away from directing television programs and ad films where decisions made are largely dependent on what the client wants,” says Sabharwal, who owns Tenten Films and has produced commercials for Yahoo, RED One, PSA’s for HIV and Cancer Research, apart from producing shows for Sahara — The Machinest, Velvet, and Steal.
“We made the video using a cutting chai as a symbol of Mumbai and carried it around town, passing through various hands for short. That glass has been put to the lips of all sorts of people— from a doctor to a taxi driver to a college student to an actor (Mushran) and many others who make Mumbai,” Sabhwarwal describes. He has also used references like the Taj Mahal Hotel going up in flames against the soundtrack of Moby’s music.
The video is somewhat reminiscent of the 2009 music video for Dido’s ‘Let’s do the things we normally do’, directed by Siddharth Sikand, starring Shahana Goswami as a taxi driver in Mumbai. The local connect worked on a superlative level. Sabharwal agrees, “It’s a powerful symbol — a day in Mumbai. So, a friend Sohil T, who has worked with Ram Gopal Varma, joined hands. We covered 50 locations in two days and it worked beautifully.”
“I have done post on Brit band E17’s comeback album due to be out soon, besides some Indian indie artistes,” Sabharwal describes, whose previous films like Shunyata based on communal riots have held pole positions. He has also worked with Gurinder Chadha and Miramax Movies earlier. He is currently producing a crossover feature film, Pact, starring JC Mac, to be released later this year. “Cinema is liberating when it is personally invigorating and this is one such project,” he says. Music, however, will always remain his mainstay, he promises.