As a person of the creative process, Kriti Nagar has made more than 30 Ad and Short films. Working in close coordination with advertising agencies in India and Abroad, she now boasts of a broad production slate.
It was the first half of 2010. Amity University Lucknow campus then situated at the Viraj Khand building in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar was abuzz with news that cinema thespians Sharmila Tagore and the legendary Farooque Sheikh were coming for a first of its kind UP Media Summit in the state.
Like any other good media academics institute, Amity School of Communication, Lucknow was busy preparing for the momentous occasion.
As an institute that believed in rising to the challenge, a motley crew of young media aspirants got down to rehearsing for a play titled Kya Sab Kuch Badlega, under the guidance of senior photojournalist and faculty at ASCO Mr Trilochan Singh Kalra, an old theatre hand himself.
Hectic practice sessions, lots of heated moments and finally a performance on 21 January, 2010 led to applause and words of commendation coming from the late Farooque Sheikh. One girl who stole the show at this momentous occasion was ASCO alumnus, Kriti Nagar.
An emotional student who would often break down asking tough questions in events, it was that inherent ability to ask questions and act when required wrapped in emotion that caught the eye of many in the institute.
Theatre, storytelling may have been a natural calling but her finesse as a star was inked after some words of praise from the thespians of parallel cinema like Farooque. By now the seeds of a career in film making had been sown for Kriti.
Like any other youngster she would dream of becoming the next big thing in Direction but like always the road was not as smooth as it seems in the entertainment business. Ask Kriti about her journey from being a rookie journalist to a professional in the film circuit, even she admits that being a raw fresher and being a woman both had their own impact on her initial struggles.
Just when the last few months of Amity University came near, she took up an internship opportunity with top media brands like IBN7 learning production work. By this time she had also worked with Amar Ujala as an intern in her hometown Allahabad. She doubled up both as a photojournalist and a reporter, focussing primarily on features.
After a professional run of 7 and a half years and with multiple productions and collaborations to her credit, she has already grabbed headlines in international publications like The National sharing print space with Shahrukh Khan, others being Heroine’s Journey and Martini and More.
Kriti distinctly remembers that specific trigger that made her realize that she was made for the film business and she had to multitask. She says, “The moment I decided to be in the Film Industry, I had to become a multitasker. There was no other option for me. I wanted to learn each and every aspect of film making. When I had done a role in a play, called “Kya sab kuch badlega” in Amity directed by our very own Mr Trilocan Kalra, it was not a decision made at random. I had to understand the mindset of an actor- How does it feel when a director gives instructions and how an actor can interpret into a playable direction. Same goes with writing, production, voice over recording and even video editing. Being in multiple roles has helped me get the better insight about the working in this industry. And because of this, it has helped me become a better person in Direction. I love the creative process and especially the magic that happens between an “ACTION” and a “CUT” in a scene. I love to be on the set.”
So is the success of Kraction Film an easy feat, Kriti explains what it takes to taste the fruit of success, she says, “ My goal and vision for myself has always been very clear. I started my firm- KRACTION FILMS with zero capital, as I never wanted to take any kind of help from my parents and relatives. I wanted to start this on my own. I only had money to pay my flat’s rent for few months, so I had to do multitasking. I taught myself everything- right from website and business card designing to cold calling prospective clients. I also took care of productions in the beginning. There were moments when I preferred to walk for about 6Kms in one stretch, just to save money for 1 time meal. But I never gave-up on my dream.”
She further adds, “Now it’s been 4 years and with god’s grace, my firm earns an average turnover of over 10lacs. I will always be grateful for the struggles and criticism I faced, they have made me who I am right now. Although I still have really very long way to go.”
Operating out of cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Jaipur, Kriti Nagar’s brainchild Kraction Films provides various exciting film making services for clients in different areas of service and product based industries.
While they have excelled in TV Commercials, Short Films, Documentaries, Corporate, Training, Marketing and Human Resource based Films they are now trying their luck at a full length feature film.
Confirming the news Kriti adds, “You heard it right. This is a women centric art film and is based out of remote areas of Rajasthan and few areas in Vrindanvan, Uttar Pradesh. It is a spiritual metaphor of human relations. It is in a very initial stage and I am very positive that audience is going to appreciate our efforts.”
Founded in the year 2011, Kraction Films is registered under Indian Partnership Act 1932.
As someone whose slogan is Creative Film Making is everything to her- her Passion, Obsession and Commitment, does she feel women get the right space and respect to flourish across cinematic domains. She sadly says no.
“You have hit the nail on the head. In today’s time I have seen very few ladies like me behind the camera. I have also faced many challenges and partiality in the initial days of my career. The lamest reason I heard was that I am a woman and therefore I cannot be trusted with behind the camera responsibility. My role was limited to assisting someone but not on the forefront of any project. However, with god’s grace, I changed this mindset with my hard work and unbreakable dedication,” adds Kriti
As a visual communicator she says, “Stalwarts like Alfred Hitchcock have always been my inspiration. Especially when it comes to suspense based plots. I don’t think anyone can match up to his craft. Having said that, I also follow work of Nila Madhab Panda, Deepa Mehta and Leena Yadav. I get a lot of inspiration from their work. I like the craft of Martin Scorsese, Guillermo del Toro and Sanjay Leela Bhansali as well.”
Given that emotions play a key role in cinema and theatre she adds, “emotions are the essence of every creative process. When it touches our heart then it surely will touch audience’s heart. Emotions are the soul of a film.”
Meanwhile she is even quite perturbed by the type of content that one sees in the films of today. She feels movies like Tere Bin Laden (2010), Lunch Box, Masaan (2015), Titli (2015), I am Kalam (2010), The Blue Umberalla (2005), Black Friday etc are the most underrated CULT films of Bollywood which definitely need to get their due.
Kriti’s goal is to make inroads into making parallel cinema which is for a broadly more educated and serious populace. She strives to receive global recognition and acceptance for efforts in reshaping how Indian cinema is perceived on the global stage. So where is the parallel cinema scene headed, we ask her.
She is quick to add, “The script is the first spark that inspires to make a film. But these days, meaningless drama, nudity and double meaning jokes have taken place of good content films. I am a firm believer that parallel cinema should be given more importance so that the audience’s tastes of movie watching can be enhanced.”
In a country where the censor board is often accused of killing creative expression Kriti says, “I believe that sometimes censorship acts like a pro-dictatorship. It acts like a roadblock in the path of creativity and right to express emotions. If they feel that certain film is not good for children as it has obscenity or violence, then they can give “A” certificate to the film. The thing I don’t understand is, they will ask to remove certain scenes and dialogues and still give “A” certificate to the film.”
As a person of the creative process, Kriti Nagar has made more than 30 Ad and Short films. Working in close coordination with advertising agencies in India and Abroad, she now boasts of a broad production slate. Given that visual media is the most viable way of storytelling, Kriti Nagar is not turning her back on any opportunity that comes her way.
Having a knack to explore ideas, observe people and study different human emotions, Kriti lives the visual medium each moment.
She has faced gender discrimination, pay disparity but now when she looks back at the years gone by she realizes that these were not wasted years.
As a parting shot, Kriti signs out saying, “Filmmaking is not only a form of art. It is the visual display of your own heart and soul. Being a visual storyteller is not a “JOB”, it is a life which is unique in itself. So, if you are passionate to dedicate your life into it.. Don’t listen to anyone.. just follow your heart.. rest will fall in its place.”
So next time you get mesmerized by the dialogue of Dirty Picture that Filmein sirf teen cheezon ki wajah se chalti hain – Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment, think again because it is a lot of hard work out there.