If a hugely successful A.D.  tells you to give the clap on your first ever commercial shoot, it means something.

Almost 7 years ago, filmmaking had greatly appealed to the twelve year old me. For someone whose dream career changed every six months, this one surprisingly stayed on for a year, then a year and a half, even two. Whenever I read about it, it seemed like a vague and hugely complicated field – off beat, and something that no one around me had been into.

But it excited me. Sure, I didn’t know anything, but I really wanted to learn.

In my first industry internship, I was working on pre-production for a TVC for Paytm, and interacting with the chief Assistant Director, Rahil Ahmed Patel. Little did I know, that he had also worked with Vishal Bharadwaj!

A week into the shoot, a day before we went into production for the TVC, I was picked to give the clap on the set. It felt special, as all the other interns were much older than me. The next two days, I worked on my first commercial shoot, an ad film that was shot by the most revered Anil Mehta. Luckily, he had me working in co-ordination with him for every shot.

At nineteen, not knowing for how long but unfazed in my resolve to give that dream a try, I landed up on my second industry shoot. For someone who had never held a toy walkie, the real one with my name on it was my trophy.

Being given the responsibility of 3rd Assistant Director for the very first time, while the 1st A.D. screamed, and pressurized me in inconceivable ways, (including throwing mics I dare not fail to catch) ; being under his hawk-like supervision as he tested my limits – all of it was worth it to someone with a desire to learn. After all, if a hugely successful A.D. tells you to give the clap on your first ever commercial shoot, it means something.

When Anil Mehta calls you by your name, and calmly teaches you exactly how to clap, calls ‘Mark It!’ even when the clap may be unnecessary, your dream is fulfilled. Seven years ago, there was an ocean out there. There still is.

But I have entered it.

Article by: Cynthia Roli Sushil Gupta (Batch of 2017)

Illustration by: Nairika Lodhi (Batch of 2019)