Q1. What is art to you?
Art is like a zone for me. It used be like an escape but now it is like I just want to stay there. I don’t want to come back. This what I think about all the time, be it music, be it films. My parents actually complain that I watch a lot of films and that I am always with my camera and I actually love that they do have a problem with it because then it shows that this what I do all the time. It has become myself. It’s like I have given myself to the arts. I can’t think of anything else now. It has become home.
Q2. Who according to you is an artist?
I think all of us are, in a way. I think an artist is a person with an ability to think. If you can just think, you have the potential to change the world, influence the world. As kids, we all used to create greeting cards for our parents that would make them smile. At that point, we never thought we were creating something, that we were little artists.
Q3. What inspires you?
I guess Cinema does. Like the good kind of cinema and not Bollywood-commercial one. I think the fact that cinema is a reflection of reality and yet it is an illusion is so beautiful. The feeling of relating to it all, that something like this can happen to each and every one of us, that I can be one of these characters is so very inspiring.
Q4. When and why did you start photography/filmmaking?
I think I was 16 when I realized that this is what I want to do, I want to be a filmmaker. Even with a bad phone camera, I would keep clicking and experimenting. When my mother decided to get me a camera, I decided it was time to start working on my dream. Since I was not very good at videography, I decided to start with photography for the simple purpose of understanding the camera better.
Sadly so, my brother stole that from me to learn on his own and so again the camera was far from my reach. At this point, I decided to work hard and get in a college when my mother finally bought me another camera. All the years that I waited for the camera, made me love and respect it so much more. I earned it for myself and so now I click as often as possible.
Q5. Are you pursuing your passion for filmmaking currently?
I am looking out for film schools at this point and making my best effort to qualify after I complete my graduation next year.
Other than that I am working on a short film inspired by my love for Rangoon creepers. I am really fascinated by them. There is this huge Rangoon creeper on my way to college, So I always pluck a few flowers and put it in my hair. So one night it just occurred to me how these little things can make us happy. Hopefully, everyone will get to see this soon.
Q6. What according to you matters more, Technicality or Creativity?
For me, creativity. Like I told you, I have never been good with technicalities. Of course, with the help of technicalities we can make the art better, show how creative we are, but for that, we need the creativity first. We need to have a zest to create. That is very important. And once we have it, I think we will also get better at the technicalities eventually.
Q7. What is your favourite work among everything that you have created?
It is a series of photographs I created recently, a completely unplanned one. So I visited my friend who lives on the campus and asked her if I could click her. The idea was to click her as she was, in her own comfort zone. She wasn’t wearing any makeup or fancy clothes.
The setting too was very aesthetic, a wall full of movie posters and a painting from her mother. She also had a typewriter. So, I asked her to do whatever she felt like and I just clicked her in the most candid way possible. And when I edited it, it was everything I liked. It was old-school, full of colours and cinematic.
Q8. Would you like to share any event or experience that made you feel good about being an artist?
This one time I recreated a scene from the film ‘Fire’ and I tagged a few people in it and Javed Jaffrey saw it. Also, a friend of mine met Nandita Das recently and she showed this picture to her and she loved it. She inquired my friend about me, like my username and everything and she asked my friend to send that picture to her. So this little thing made me really happy.
Q9. It is often said that there is no good art and no bad art. Do you believe that?
Yes, I believe that there is no good art or bad art because everyone who is expressing is expressing what they are feeling. But we can always choose to follow the ones we like. The people we consider bad artists, do have an audience of themselves, there are people who like that work as well. It is about perceptions and personal likings.
In the movie, ‘The Karate Kid’, Jackie Chain when discussing his dead family, says this one thing – “ My wife was a singer. She wasn’t a professional singer but she used to sing to me.” The fact that he considered her a singer because she sang for him, that means he believed in her art. She might not have been a singer to everyone else, but to him she was.
Q10. Have you ever encountered someone who wanted you to work for free/for a lesser fee, in the name of providing exposure/building experience or future prospect of more business?
These are the kind of people I meet every time I am looking out for work. It is so sad that people are not willing to pay.
Very recently a friend of a friend asked for a photoshoot for a fee of Rs. 900. I agreed because she was a friend of my friend. After the shoot, she asked me to edit and send the pictures to her that very day which was near to impossible. And after that, she complained that I was unprofessional and the pictures were blurred. She took away 200 from me because I didn’t edit because of the time constraints and how less she was paying me. Still I asked her to give me the pics and I will edit them. She still didn’t pay me the rest 200 after receiving her work.
There have been many such events when people have refused the pay the promised amount to me or sometimes even tricked me to work for a lesser fee. It is a very sad state!
Q11. Do you think it is ok to be vulnerable and did art help you overcome your vulnerabilities?
Of course it is. In the society, we are not allowed to be too happy, or too sad, we aren’t supposed to feel the extremes and vulnerability is an extreme. We feel often feel ashamed that we are so prone to things. It is like if I say I am scared of lizards, everyone is going to be okay with that but if I say I am scared of being alone, people will laugh at me, ask me to man up. All this makes us too scared to express, or to feel in the first place.
Art helps me deal with this all the time. It is home, it comforts me a lot. This thing that this particular visual makes me feel nice, it was created by someone and that way we are all related and everyone has the same problems, it is comforting.
Q12. Any message you want to give to the world through Prone?
To be anything in this world, you have to be in this world, embrace it. There are so many people that aren’t related to you directly but still are, because you live under the same sky. You share the same stories. You don’t always have to be unique or different, Just try to be the most of what you are.
Follow Pranjal on Instagram: @pranjalasha