Past one month I have stopped all my photography work. I have been concentrating only on a project for an NGO known as Mann. I got involved with the foundation because Megha, my sister had taken up the responsibility to shoot a video for them. But she could not fulfill the same since another assignment came up that needed her attention. She simply said ‘bhai please go and do it…’
I entered it on a very professional level to just go and shoot it on behalf of Megha. But that one day that I went and shot with these kids, was very different. This kid that I was working with, Brian, who has now gone on to becoming the face for Mann, I became friends with him. I thought it will be extremely challenging to direct him, but it wasn't so at all. He was very sweet. Although by the end of the day he got tired after a point because we were shooting in the sun. As he was the lead hero, he was required in every frame of the song. But it was not tough. I was under the dilemma that it is a special kid and how will I make him act and how will he understand what I’m looking for from him.
In my head I had pictured him to be very indifferent. But I was wrong. A special child is exactly like any other child. He heard me and did exactly what I wanted. So the respect for a special child totally changed. How these people are and how when the day ended every kid made friends with me, hugged me and thanked me so much. They made me feel special. For them it was a very different and eventful day. They are usually sitting in a classroom but they came outside in the park for the shoot.
We finished the shoot. They said they wish to release it within 15 days. I got the edit done and it was all set to be released. When the entire team, founders, trustees and music director came to see the video in the office, they all had tears welled up in their eyes. That’s when I also realized and was shaken that my video could make people cry. It sprung tears of hope.
I pushed the idea with the support of the director Mr. Kashyap that we should not release this in a small manner. Let’s make it big. So yesterday (24th April, 2015) at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra, we had a fun filled event for the kids. We had Farah Khan coming and launching the video. Shekhar Ravjiani with his amazing performance, to flute away the audience, Mangesh Desai with his unique comedy magic and Jitendra ji came in too. A lot of media, celebrities, pr, social media activities are still happening online. We had an article in the Times of India for the same 2 days back.
So it’s my directorial debut. I was already 10 years into photography, first year of doing a calendar. Considering the marriage plan coming in, I was looking at something bigger to jump into. I was at a stage of deciding my life plan from here on. So that’s why I put all my work on a hold for almost a month. I've literally sat everyday with these people for 5-6 hours. So I am not a trustee for namesake but I feel like I am a part of Mann as equally as the other trustee’s involved. The difference is that they have put in 4 years where as I have only just one month to it.
What I really learnt from them during this course was the kind of passion they have. These guys put their life towards it. I went all out and invited as many celebrities as possible for the event. I am very kicked with the whole thing. The purpose behind me trying to promote it is that, people have myths about special kids, which has to be broken. He is not different, he is special. We all as humans are greedy we all do things for a reason. They don’t. They don’t even remember what happened yesterday very often. So they don’t keep grudges with you. So they are special. What is special? Special is that they are better than you and me. That is what I want to communicate to the world by asking people to join the cause.