All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,” said Walt Disney. The ability to convert dreams into reality needs a lot of hard work, dedication and sincerity. We need to understand that reality can be sometimes deceptive and dreams very real. You just need to go out there and chase your dreams. Like I chased mine.
Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan
Storytelling has been in my blood since childhood. As an avid reader of comic books, the power of visual storytelling had developed early on in me. I still remember driving to Mumbai from Delhi by car, armed with 500 comic books and a desire to make films. Packing my bags and leaving home was a spur-of-the-moment decision. My father asked me to pursue my passion and my wife said she would join me soon.
For a man who was a kickboxing champion but had no formal education in cinema, turning to movie making seemed like a strange choice. But then it was my decision and I came searching for my El Dorado here in Mumbai.
Lahore, a film about sports, was perhaps a natural progression for me. Even the actors — who worked with me on my film, Lahore, including the late Farooque Shaikh, — found it hard to believe that I wasn’t a trained filmmaker nor had I assisted anyone earlier. He felt that my technique and skills, that are said to have fetched me the National Award for the Best First Film, had been inculcated through rigorous training.
And so it is important to know technique and develop skills that are needed for any particular career. Challenges need be viewed not as obstacles; they should be faced head on. During the making of my debut film, there were many setbacks but we were unfazed. It only made us stronger and encouraged us to fight against all odds.
I believe that if your heart is in the right place and your conviction is strong, you can make anything happen in this world. Filmmaking is no rocket science. If a common man like me can make a film then anyone can. Every man is a storyteller at heart; the only thing pulling them back is their (lack of) belief.
If you believe that you can share your story with the world, you will find an audience; you will realise that there are millions of people eavesdropping. Especially in contemporary times where thanks to advanced technology, connecting with people is a lot simpler. Accordingly, making films is no longer a Herculean task.
All aspiring filmmakers out there should, at any given point, be inspired, instinctive and insightful. As former President APJ Abdul Kalam said, “It is important that you dream first before your dreams can come true.” So keep dreaming and have the vigour to achieve them.
Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan is a filmmaker best known for his National Award-winning film, Lahore (2010).