From A Salesman To A Film Maker: Shajan Samuel
From knocking on people’s doors and selling ads for yellow pages to making a strong move towards his desires, Shajan has made it all big today. His interest in raising awareness amongst the masses about grave social situations through his short films has helped Shajan win a million hearts. Shajan, who started his career at the tender age of 16, chose sales and marketing for his living, which also helps him in funding for his films too. Shajan’s passion to make short films has enabled him carve a name in the film industry.
Even though Mr. Samuel was born and brought up in the city of joy, Kolkata, he was fortunate to travel different parts of the country because of his nature of work (Sales and Marketing). Travel gave him a different perspective towards life, since it helped him discover different cultures, traditions and paved way for several other experiences. I think this inspired him to start writing path-breaking scriptsbased on real life scenarios. “I firmly believe that the sole purpose of one’s existence is to make an impact and bring about positive influence in society”.His short films have become a medium to project the day-to-day difficulties and they even suggest the simplest ways to overcome them. “I make films only to bring socially relevant messages to the forefront. I don’t intend to be a feature film maker, I earn my bread through my full time Job and that allows me the luxury of funding my films”.Shajan’s short films are a good mix of his thoughts and entertainment.
The year 2008 played a vital role in Shajan’s life, he was in his mid-thirties back then. He took almost four years to put his thoughts into execution. Finally, he took a step forward and started exploring ways to express himself. And then life offered him an amazing journey……
It was in the year 2012 that he visited Bangalore in a bid to train members of the Bangalore traffic police. The training emphasized on stress management and lasted over a period of 18 months. The thoughts gathered by Shajan at the end of the session, drove him crazy.He selected 14 students of ‘MAAC’, who were ignorant of film making. Shajan took the opportunity and made a documentary film on the Bangalore Traffic Police titled “The Resilient Bangalore Traffic Cop”. The film was produced by MAAC and received a lot of acclaim. This was when Shajan realized he can make it big through his films and thus, started his film making journey.
Great ideas emerge from 100 ordinary ideas, I draw references from my own experience, Shajan communicated during our talk.
Moving ahead, he did another short film based on underprivileged children, titled ‘Sukrupa
’. ‘Sukrupa’ was based on the fact that if we provide education to the underprivileged that will help them overcome poverty. Hence, it is of utmost importance to educate every strata of Indian society. The story got featured with this humble thought,for which he received funds from 34 people. The film was announced on 02 October 2014 and was released on 14th November as a tribute to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as the film focuses on educating the underprivileged children.
It was really endearing to watch his latest short film, “ABC
”, featuring Sruthi Hariharan, anoted south Indian actress and Shahbaaz Saleem, son of M.A.Saleem (additional commissioner of Bangalore traffic police).The movie is a gentle reminder of a thought which has crossed all our minds. It says that people can belong to a different class or strata of society, however, sometimes a person, a moment or an action can highly influence us and turn our paths towards the good,which even help us in understanding ourselves better.
‘ABC’, a Hindi Short film produced by Shajan Samuel under the banner of ‘Shajan Samuel Productions’ is making waves, earning appreciation and applauses from the audience. The script of the film was based on the thoughts penned by Sonia Mackwani and has been selected for a national script writing competition.This short film has received 131,269 views and 1428 likes on‘YouTube’so far and also selected officially at ‘3rd Rolling Frames Film Summit 2015’ and ‘4thDelhi Shorts International Film Festival 2015’. It has also received 2 lakh views across all platforms and an average of 500 people watch the film on daily basis.
“ABC-Short film has become a Case Study in the marketing curriculum of ICFAI Business School. Success of ABC also indicates my belief that finally film is all about story telling in an engrossing & simplistic manner”, Shajan added.
The film had been premiered in Bangalore & Mumbai, Hyderabad and had its trailer launch at the hotel ‘Taj Residency’,Bangalore. The film has so far being screened at 20 Colleges in India. On being asked Shajan said, “It’s easier to create the future than predicting it. The youth has a great role in shaping India’s destiny and my objective through ‘ABC’ is to reach as many youngsters as possible”.
Shajan believes that a strong team is what is required in delivering an exquisite film. He added that he is grateful to all the crew members of ‘ABC’. “The cast and crew of ABC worked cohesively and that helped in churning out a fine product”, Shajan said.The film has been screened in 22 film festivals so far and has bagged 8 special jury awards as well as 5 award nominations. ‘ABC’ has been picked up by ‘Pocket films’, India’s largest short film distributor and was broadcast on their YouTube channel on 25th December, 2015. The film was one of the top 10 films in ‘8th Advantage India Contest’.
He has also been honored by various other awards and acccolades. The rewards at the Dada Saheb Phalke film Festival, Mumbai Shorts Film Festival, Delhi Shorts Film Festival, Noida Shorts Film Festival, Indore Social Responsibility Festival, MUMBAI Short film festival, Travancore Short Film Festival and Bangalore Shorts Film Festival being a few.
Talking about the future of Short Films in India, Shajan commented that Short Films have a bright future because of the digital revolution. If one can market the film well then it can easily find an appropriate audience. Immediately, one cannot monetize short films, but gradually one can do it. “Short films can be taken to theatres which will be a tougher route but possible”, Shajan added.
Wasn’t it an amazing story? So guys, if you have any desires or dreams in your heart, don’t keep it to yourself, because it won’t do anything good. Instead, work on your passion or your dreams and show it to the world, The Real You.
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