Director Parag Vijra reveals why he chose short films over typical Bollywood films

Hindustan Times | ByRishabh Suri, New Delhi
Feb 16, 2018 01:10 PM IST

Intrigued by short films, Parag Vijra feels that commercial cinema is only bothered by the star value, and not the content.

Filmmaking is an art that a few utilise to the fullest, and many people choose to get into filmmaking because Bollywood is their last stop. However, Parag Vijra dared to go the unconventional way.

Parag Vijra’s latest short film is about Sikkim.
Parag Vijra’s latest short film is about Sikkim.

Parag has been more interested in making short films and documentaries on unexplored places in India. His latest work is Sikkim — More Than What One Knows. He has made films on other places too. “We have been making a lot of documentaries for Himachal and other unexplored places in India. My idea was to go towards the Northeastern States of India and do something for Sikkim or Assam. That’s how we started, and did around two months of research before shooting,” he says.

Parag has also won numerous awards for his films in the past. This short film on Sikkim has won three prestigious awards already, and is in the running for a fourth one — the highest and the most prestigious award that is given in the field of cinema — Dadasaheb Phalke Award. “I have covered the entire North-East, West, South of Sikkim. Our concept involves a young girl [played by actor Ankita Sood, whom Parag will be launching in a Hindi feature film], who has travelled all the way to Sikkim, and when she reaches there, realises that the fun lies in the spontaneity of life,” adds Parag.

A still from Parag’s short film Sikkim - More Than What One Knows
A still from Parag’s short film Sikkim - More Than What One Knows

Asked why he didn’t choose to enter Bollywood, Parag reveals, “I am passionate about covering different countries. When I initially wanted to do the commercial thing on TV or films, nobody wanted to cover these places. They [distribution companies] don’t usually depend on ideas. They only ask ‘actor kisko le rahe ho, director kaun hai, production house kaun hai’. Saare ideas vahin pe khatam ho jaate hain (All ideas become futile when people are only concerned about the actor, director and the production house backing your project). They just look for commercial value.”

Parag shares that he started his own company, thinking that he will invest his money to make films on such subjects. “Sikkim government helped me a lot in my project. Logon ki soch yeh hoti hai ki iss project mein Priyanka Chopra thode na hai jo hum isko lein (People’s mentality is such that they don’t opt for projects if it doesn’t have someone like a Priyanka Chopra). Brand ambassador bhi AR Rahman aur Priyanka ko banaya, toh they will go for them, why will they go for me? Commercial sochunga toh meri creativity mar jaayegi (If I only focus on commercial aspect, my creativity will die),” says Parag, whose other short film Ab Rab Havale was his fifth film to win the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.

Interact with the author on Twitter/ @RishabhSuri02

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