V K Prakash loves his cinema. And he is one of those classic examples of people who turn what they love doing into their livelihood. But there’s a difference. He isn’t just another filmmaker. His film, Moonnamothoral was the first high-definition (HD) movie to be digitally distributed to theatres via satellites. He understood that the future of cinema was going to be ‘digital’ and stood his ground, despite opposition. In fact, he was at the forefront of the effort to get it acknowledged as an acceptable standard for awards. Today, entries are accepted in the digital format for the National Film Awards in India. We at YourStory bring you this exclusive interview with V K Prakash, the founder of Trends Ad Film Makers and a pioneer in digital filmmaking.
Tell us about yourself and your company, Trends Ad Film Makers.
I hail from the world of theatre. I studied at the School Of Drama, Thrissur and ended up doing theatre for a while. After this stint, I moved to Mumbai to work with Kailash Surendranath, the ad film maker. I used to work in their production house. Next, I moved to a mainstream advertising agency called Everest and after that, I found my way into Ogilvy & Mather. I spent six years in O & M. I started my own company after this. My theatre guru, G Sankaran Pillai had envisioned a folklore theatre group called Trends. But it never took off. So when I was starting my own production house in 1994, I decided to take that name and called it Trends Ad Film Makers. I’ve worked with all the leading advertising professionals of my time. And Balki and I have created some great work together. The Kissan “Jam Jam Jammy” commercial with Rahul Dravid and the Fair & Lovely “Airhostess” commercial are some of the most famous ads that I’ve shot.
You also ventured into full-length cinema.
It was a natural progression. My first feature film Punaradhivasam starring Nandita Das was released in 2000 and won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam. It also won the Kerala State Award for Best Debut Director and Best Story. Freaky Chakra starring Ranvir Shorey and Deepti Naval was my first Hindi film. I also did Phir Kabhi with Mithun Chakraborthy and Dimple Kapadia. My most recent film was a Malayalam venture called Karmayogi. I strongle believe that content is king. Cinema excites me as it involves or has the potential to involve all the art forms. And it’s much easier to make cinema these days. Technological advancements have rendered things, once considered impossible, viable. Technology can really help you raise the bar if your content is strong.
Speaking of technology, you were selected by Dell to be a part of their “Take your own path” campaign. How did that come about?
I came into prominence when Moonnamothoral released. It was the first film to be shot and distributed digitally. Dell took note of that and approached me. I was already using Dell equipment before the offer came in and that encouraged me to take it up. The technology that they made available suited my temperament. I like to get things done quickly and I always try to push the envelope. For instance, I shot this film called Gulumal in the digital format. It was a ‘travel’ film and required strange angles or angles not possible in a normal film camera. Here, digital made sense beyond the economics of it. The technology ‘bettered’ the film. Also, sometimes, I edit films as I shoot them. I convert the footage into digital format, put it on my computer and have my editor edit it on the spot.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
I have only one thing to say. Don’t follow money. Follow your passion. Work very hard at what comes to you naturally and constantly innovate. But please don’t choose a certain path only for the money. If you are really good at what you do, business will come in and see you through. Also, I would like to tell young entrepreneurs to stick it out. Business ideas take time to develop. It’s not like instant coffee. In fact, I would urge you to think of it as filter coffee. You will have to wait for the results. And invariably, it’s worth the wait.
We at YourStory completely agree with Prakash’s point of view. We wish him all the best and look forward to his next film. After all, good things come to those who wait.
To know more about V K Prakash, check out www.dell.co.in/takeyourownpath
Dell – Helping entrepreneurs take their own path
Sriram Mohan|YourStory|7th February|Bangalore