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From Tech to Shuttlecock Boys
By Hitesh Shetty

The booming IT industry has enabled many Techies to pursue their talents and passions.  Meet Techie Hemant Gaba, a Maths graduate from Delhi,  who had a J2EE related tech role in blue chip MNCs like CMC and UBS, but left the lucrative and secure world of technology to make films.  Their debut feature film Shuttlecock Boys opened earlier this month and has received good reviews.

Techgoss (TG): Tell us about your Educational and IT background?
Hemant Gaba:  I didn't have any formal degree in IT. I did my Maths (Hons) from Delhi University in 2000 

I appeared and managed to crack some B level MCA exam.. but I have never been a fan of formal degrees esp in our Education System.

So I thought that instead of spending 3 years in a degree; I should rather just find a job in software.

Then studied few books in Java & J2ee and landed myself in the IT career. Primarily worked for companies like CMC, KEANE, XCHANGING & UBS in J2ee related technologies.

TG: How did you develop interest in Filmmaking? Was this passion always within you or did it happen by accident?
Hemant Gaba:  Honestly speaking, I was never really happy writing code for these big companies. Most software projects that I worked upon were not really exciting. And it was money and few travel opportunities that kept me on in the Software. During this whole time, I was on a constant look out for something that would make me loose the sense of time.  So when I was in New York, I started attend filmmaking workshops in the evening just to see, if this could be calling. And I was completely hooked. It was then, that I decided that I want to make a transition.

Although I do like technology.. in fact now along with film making, we are trying to develop a web based Product but only because we enjoy doing it.

TG: At what point did you decide IT was not for you, and film making was your future?
Hemant Gaba:  It was in 2007, when I was in NY working for UBS.. I had attended few workshops in filmmaking that made me realize that this is what I want to do.

TG: How did the 'Shuttlecock Boys' movie project originate? Was there any incident in your life that inspired the making of this film?
Hemant Gaba:  I attended a Screen Writing workshop where we were supposed to complete first draft of a feature length screenplay. That's where the script originated.
I just looked back and combined 2 stages of my life

a.) In my teen years I was used to play badminton with friends in our neighbourhood in the nights.
b). In my mid-20s, I didn't like my job and wanted to do something different.

TG: How challenging was it to work with fresh faces that constitute the cast of this film? Did any IT/BPO employee feature in this film?
Hemant Gaba:  We didn't have any budget to hire any star cast. So we decided to work with fresh faces who had just done some training in acting (also, because it was easier to work with them). We did one month of workshop with all 4 lead actors to work on their chemistry.

Manish Nawani had worked for one of the MNC BPOs before studying Acting and he does work for a BPO in the film also.

TG: What is the future of independent films in India? Will it finally get its dues from the mainstream market?
Hemant Gaba:   I think the future of independent films is very bright. This new phase of digital filmmaking has given a surge to the growing number of films being made independently in India. But exhibition platforms for independent films are almost non-existent, but hopefully that will also happen in the coming 2-3 years.

Day is not far, when independent films will co-exist with the mainstream films.

TG: How did you take care of the funding portion of the film? Did the project seem risky in the beginning, since this was the first time you tried your hand in filmmaking?
Hemant Gaba:  Part funding came from our savings, and part come from pitch-ins from friends / family members / ex-colleagues etc

When I returned from NY and told my dad that I want to make a film the  first question he asked - How much profitable would it be?

I said 0 revenue; he shockingly asked then why do you wanna do it ?  I said because that's what I wanna do..

Filmmaking is business for few, hobby for many. And I want my hobby to turn into a profession soon :-)

TG: What kind of recognition did the film receive in various festivals across the globe? What kind of films do you plan to make in the future?
Hemant Gaba:  The film received v.good response in film festivals. In fact, we even recorded some of the reactions on camera.

I plan to experiment with all kinds of genre in the future; next is a dark and edgy film.

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