After working as an assistant director on a couple of films, Tarun Dudeja decided to branch out on his own as a filmmaker. His debut short film 'Listener' recently premiered on a popular channel on YouTube and has been getting rave reviews and a huge number of views since then. In this interview, he talks about his journey as a filmmaker, the inception of this film, the comment it makes on the society and what he plans to make next.
'Listener' makes a comment about the urban world, where you see moving around in groups but when it comes to finding that one person you can talk to, you realise there is nobody around. Would you agree to that?
How did you get the basic idea for the film?
In 2015, a film that I working on as an assistant director got over and I started looking for another film I could work on. A friend of mine asked me to join him for drinks in a bar. I accompanied him for a couple of days but after that, I told him I would not be able to come as I was jobless and did not have a lot of money to spend on our outings. He insisted that I should join him and said that he would pay for the drinks. I went again but realised it is not right for him to pay for both our drinks. So, after that I made another excuse. I told him a doctor has advised me against consuming alcohol. He told me he just needs my company and I can have soft drink or juice at the bar. I wondered why he enjoyed my company so much. Soon, I realised that he likes my company because he talks a lot and I listen to him patiently without saying much in return. I thought this is something I should get paid for. So, the idea for the film came from this incident. When you are making a short film, you have to deal with a lot of constraints. I thought it would be easier to make film as we can shoot it inside a restaurant.
Did you think of a backstory for Kumud Mishra's character?
I thought of the character has somebody who has done a lot of theatre in his college days. He probably runs a hardware shop during the day and comes to the restaurant in the night to work as a listener and make some extra money.
Tell us something about your background.
I am from Panipat in Haryana. I studied in Ramjas College in Delhi University. I came to Mumbai and started working as an assistant director on films. My first film was 'B.A. Pass' which was directed by Ajay Bahl. Then, I worked on 'Ghanchakkaar' and 'Raja Natwarlal'. I also worked on the Indian schedule of a Hollywood film called 'Tiger Hunter'. After that, I decided to make a short film so that I could put my storytelling skills to test.
I am planning to make another short film. With 'Listener', we had to make a few compromises. I wanted to convey a few more things and shoot across different locations but because of budget constraints I could not do that. This time, I want to have the finances in place before I make my next.
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