Chandigarh-based Ojaswwee Sharma has brought laurels to the city for bagging the award for Best Documentary Film (above 60 minutes) in the National Competition section at the 17th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for documentary, short fiction and animation films for his docudrama, ‘Admitted’.
‘Admitted’ is a biographical docudrama on the inspiring life of Dhananjay Chauhan, the first transgender student at Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Tricity Scoop spoke to Ojaswwee, who has more than 80 films to his credit, including internationally acclaimed films Zubaan, The Last Date, Badalti Soch, Chaurassi, Scars – That Remain After 100 Years of Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Silver Lining – The Journey of Rashpal Singh, Kites Beyond Boundaries, Art Finds Its Way, Sarbat Da Bhala and One Beat amongst others.
Here are some excerpts from our interview with Ojaswwee.
Walk us through your illustrious journey as a director who has more than 80 films to his credit?
The journey has been a great learning curve, from film projects and shows which worked and some couldn’t. I am proud of the fact that Rolling Frames Entertainment is a brand that now everyone knows well in the region for producing and releasing path-breaking films and programs. Our flagship films Admitted, Chaurassi, Zubaan, and The Last Date have travelled all the major film festivals across the world to more than 75 film festivals which have brought immense pride to the region along with generating massive work opportunities in the region.
How would you define your success mantra?
Filmmaking is a very intuitive yet collaborative process. One needs to be well-read and well known about the surroundings and be good with people, whether they are your producers who support your story, your crew/unit who believe in and live during the making of the film and then the audience who are unknown to us yet are the recipients of our work. Success only comes when you click well together with all the 3 segments at the same time.
I have found my potential and scope in stories which are rooted in reality, irrespective of genre. It is overwhelming to receive positive feedback and appreciation for the films I have worked on, and I hope I continue to grow.
Tell us more about your latest endeavour – ‘Admitted’ and its scintillating success story for being recognized as the Best Documentary Film (above 60 minutes) at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF)?
It has been a journey of 4 years now with the film. The 1st schedule of the film started in December 2017 and the film was censored and released in 2020. MIFF happens once in 2 years and the films that were chosen this year were films which were cleared by the CBFC Central Board of Film Certification India in 2020 and 2021. Amongst nearly 400 films in MIFF this year, and 120 in the National Category, Admitted was conferred as Winner Best Documentary in National Category above 60 minutes-feature categories, which is the highest honour to be received by any non-fiction category film in India at this level given by Films Division India & Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.
What encouraged you to work on this biographical docudrama? What are some lessons that you learnt while shooting for the same?
I believe in equality, education and equal rights. I found a strong personality in Dhananjay to stand towering against the storms of life to ensure. I felt a film would do justice to her stand on life and education and for the transgender community, which she stands for all human rights.
What are some things that you love the most about Chandigarh Tricity? Why?
This place has been my maternal home since birth and my permanent home for 19 years now. The Tricity has evolved at a very defined and progressive manner. My stories are based here and are filmed here which reflect the characteristics of the region. They form the eccentric part of my screenplay, dialogues and cinematographic aspects of my stories. Admitted has been filmed 100% here and so would be my next one.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects.
My next filming will begin in the July-August time period for the 2022 year-end release which is the next flagship film by Pinaka Mediaworks and Rolling Frames Motion Pictures to hit theatres, television and the internet. It is currently in the intermediate stage of pre production.
It is a modern-day drama set in the Tricity and would feature people and crew from the region. There are a few film releases from the Sikhlens Productions starting June 14th with Silver Lining till the end of this year which have been filmed in the last 2 years.
One final message for our readers.
People are more accepting of change now. I request the readers of Tricity Scoop to watch our films and support the makers of films from the region. Support them, buy their tickets. Don’t compare to a Bollywood Hollywood thing. Every film has an audience. If you support films here, you are contributing to the entertainment ecosystem of the region.
(Cover Design: Gayatri Franklin)