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Exclusive Interview with Shehjar Director Nikhil Allug

Nikhil Allug is a natural writer and has been writing since 7th grade. He took to music for 8 years and then moved on to visual story telling via films. His inherent & natural affliction with writing & music helped him in the craft of visual medium and he made few short films which garnered critical acclaim. This reinforced Nikhil’s belief in his craft and firmed up his conviction that he can excel in this field.

 

Its been 9 years and my biggest motivation & desire till today is the same, the deep urge to tell my stories. All my stories are original & a ‘part of me’ that I love sharing with the world.

 

An MBA graduate from Welingkar Institute (Mumbai), Nikhil worked as an Assistant Director with Rajkumar Hirani (Munnabhai MBBS ,3 Idiots, P.K). He has also been a professional musician both studio and live for over 9 years and has toured abroad extensively. Nikhil has also extensively worked as a Copy writer, Senior Creative Visualizer and Director for various advertising agencies and undertook corporate film work for some of India’s biggest brands. 

 In 2011, his documentary on Rubina Ali Qureshi, the SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE child actor called ‘THE ONE WINGED BUTTERFLY’ got noticed by FRAMES FILM FESTIVAL and was awarded ‘Best Documentary film in 2011’. He was personally lauded for the documentary by Jill Gwen, Sr VP at Fox Searchlight Pictures & Co Producer of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Same year, his short film called ‘NOTHINGNESS’ with Asif Basra was screened at Cannes.

 

 

After the initial success of his work, Nikhil made a series of critically acclaimed short films starting with ‘DEAD INSIDE’ (2013) in which he was mentored by Anurag Kashyap, THE WAITING ROOM, ASHARFI & SAWAALON KI DUNIYA (A World of Questions), the latter was acquired by a leading digital platform.

 

   

 

Off late Nikhil has focused on the horror genre with his short film MUD MUD KE NA DEKH (Dont Look Back). The film was officially selected at the ‘Crimson Screen Horror Festival’ (US) last year and will be released this Halloween (31st October). He followed it up with his debut horror feature ‘THE MAYA TAPE’ featuring Nawazzudin Siddiqui, Vishakha Singh & Satyakam Anand. The film will be released shortly.

 

 

  

His upcoming Hindi feature ‘Shehjar’ which means shade, is about a Kashmiri couple who travel to Mumbai from Kashmir along with their two sons. Starring Ira Dubey, Sunil Kumar Palwal, Zahid Mir and Burhan Shafi Itoo, it’s a social drama with suspense. Though the film is weaved around Kashmir, the soul of the film is about humanity.

 

Our status, behavior & surroundings shape us to be who we are but deep inside as human beings our primary needs are the same. One of them is of shade, the shade of a roof, the shade of well being & the shade of Love. 

 

Still from Shehjar

Nikhil also managed to capture a beautiful look of Kashmir, Katra & Mumbai, thanks to the Sigma range of lenses which have a beautiful render & filmic look to it. Sigma is a global Japanese manufacturer of quality cinematic lenses & cameras and they have given an official endorsement to ‘Shehjar’ due to it’s beautiful cinematography which they found highly appealing. They have introduced their Cine lens series recently worldwide & they are an absolute delight to work on, feels Nikhil. ‘Shehjar’ is currently doing the festival round and will be released early 2018.

 

Ira Dubey

Unlike others, Nikhil hates talking about his struggles & survival stories and about how difficult it was for him. The reason according to him is that it’s never meant to be easy in the first place while making a film. All the hardships & efforts in making a film fail if one can not engage an audience in a theatre for the duration of the film. He however does feel that securing funds for an Indie film is challenging in an ROI driven environment where investors prefer a product which sells easily on it’s own. Distribution is relatively easier provided the film garners enough critical acclaim at the festivals.

 

Shehjar

Some of the film makers from whom Nikhil draws inspiration are Takashi Miike, Nicolas Winding Refn, Martin Scorsese, Gaspar Noe, Werner Herzog and Andrei Tarkovsky.

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