Amit Sharma spills the beans on his direction process

Badhaai Ho director Amit Ravindernath Sharma conducted a Masterclass at The Himalayan Film Festival on his process of direction. Photo: Think Ink Communications

In the heart of the Himalayas, the second edition of The Himalayan Film Festival (THFF) celebrated diverse cinema. As the festival drew to a close on October 3,  what stood out was a Masterclass led by Amit Ravindernath Sharma, director of Badhaai Ho. With a career spanning television commercials, advertising and feature films, Amit Sharma’s artistic journey is a testament to the power of dedication and attention to detail.

Amit Sharma hosted Telling Compelling Narratives moderated by Anupama Chopra. During this Masterclass, he spoke about his process of direction and how he immerses his actors in their character and the scene.

Sharma said, “When I am narrating and I am shooting for scene number 32, I don’t only narrate to scene number 32 to the actors. I start from scene number 25 and go up to scene number 36. Because actors are also shooting many films at the same time, you have to get them back into the character if it is not a one-go film. I tell them their character and scene, and I tell them to play their part. Then if I don’t like what they are doing, I show it to them. Recently, I was shooting an ad film with Ayushmann Khurrana, and he said, “Paaji, aap hi karke dikha do phir, baad mein aapne to lena nahin hai jo main karoonga (Sir, please do the scene and show me, for you might not accept what I do).”

He added, “With Gajraj Rao also, on the second day of the shoot of Badhaai Ho, I got a little scared. It was all going well, everyone was laughing on set, and that is why I got a little scared. I just left, went to a gurdwara and sat over there. I just thought something was going wrong. The next morning when I woke up to go to the set, I realized what was wrong. I went to Gajraj’s vanity van and told him, ‘Today, stop when I hold your hand.’ Gajraj is a theater actor, and in feature films what happens is that a scene is written for a particular character. But if another character is eating up that scene, when you see the final edit, the film will be disjointed. So Gajraj began putting in extra lines, and at the end, we were all laughing because everything he added was amazing.”

Amit Sharma’s journey from an ad filmmaker to a celebrated film director reminds us that true magic lies in the finer details. Between 2005 and 2015, Sharma has directed over 900 advertisements, including those for Google, Coca-Cola and Amazon. In 2011, he directed an advert, The Silent National Anthem, featuring deaf and mute singing the Jana Gana Mana through sign language, and won a silver award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. A 2013 advert for Lifebuoy soap focused on hygiene in Indian villages, and won Gold at the Spikes Asia awards later that year.

Currently directing Boney Kapoor’s Maidaan, he has also directed Tilchatta, the most acclaimed episode in the anthology film, Lust Stories 2. Of course, his 2018 100-crore grossing film, Badhaai Ho, also won the National Film Award for Best Film Popular Providing Wholesome Entertainment.



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