FNP media’s next offering is the short film Almariyaan releasing on 9th July. The film stars Rajesh Sharma, Supriya Shukla, Shrikant Verma and Pranav Sachdev and is directed by the young film maker Jiya Bhardwaj – Jyothi Venkatesh

We spoke to Jiya to understand her film making journey and how she conceived Almariyaan.

Jiya who hails from Delhi says, ”Theatre made me realise that all I wanted to do with my life was to tell stories.

Back in Delhi when I was studying in Hansraj College, we used to spend all our time writing, directing and acting in plays which helps one understand the small nuances of anything related to performance and storytelling.

That gave me the confidence to move to Mumbai and work on films and assist filmmakers through the years.

This is where I learnt about a whole new world and I have to say that I’ve been supremely blessed to have worked with some of the best people from the industry.

As for writing, I realised that to be able to make my own films I need to take that next step and get the formal training that’s going to help make me be more pronounced with my storytelling, so I went off to NYU in 2019 for a professional course in screenwriting and came back with a bunch of ideas that I couldn’t wait to translate onto the screen”

Speaking about her first working experience she says,” My first work behind the camera was on a film called Aankhon Dekhi, directed by Rajat Kapoor which was shot in old Delhi.

I was a clueless intern on set, mesmerised by the kind of magic that was happening around me.

It was such a treat to witness exemplary actors on that film. It was the perfect first experience I needed.”

So how did you conceive Almariyaan? Jiya says, ”Pranav Sachdev , who is also an actor in this film, and I happen to be best friends since our college theatre days.

He came and met me last year during the lockdown and told me about a play called “Dustbin” by Ajay Krishnan which he had recently performed.

I read the play and found it challenging for an Indian setting. Somehow I felt that the conversation that was unfolding was not happening by Indian characters.

And then an idea struck me – what if this conversation between parents happens in a regular middle class family of Delhi?

What happens when you add some madness to this entire thing and make it something new? Pranav and I flew with the idea and I wrote the screenplay.

When we had the script we were absolutely sure with what we wanted to do. Within no time we started pitching, knowing that this may not be the easiest task since this isn’t something that everyone would be comfortable making.

And that’s when we met FNP Media and I think they got excited about it more than us and came on board immediately to make it.”

Almariyaan has actors like Rajesh Sharma and Supriya Shukla and Jiya can’t stop talking about them.

“When we got to pitching Almariyaan to actors, I was secretly hoping that only they say yes. And they did!! Supriya ji called me instantly and said that what she read was so fresh and important that she would fly down to do it the next day!

Rajesh ji was also thrilled to read it and we eventually worked out a window to get them out of their busy schedules to get this going.

It’s been an absolute honour and I feel nothing but tons of gratitude that such senior actors trusted me and helped me fly!

There were times I had to call cut but I would be so engrossed in their performances that I would forget and then Rajesh ji would crack us all up with his humour.

Both of them have taken their characters to new levels of depth and dealt with the entire layer of this satire with the perfect maturity it needed.

I can’t wait to work with them again and get those warm hugs from Supriya ji between takes.”

Speaking about FNP media Jiya says,”FNP Media is a fantastic platform for the young voices who want to showcase their talent.

They are producing such diverse and important films under one umbrella and they are very enthusiastic and unabashed about it.

I would urge all the young storytellers out there to try and approach FNP if you have something new to say.

Vikas Gutgutia, the captain of the ship and the absolute visionary is down to take things to the next level in the short films game. I can’t wait to work with them again.”

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