We had the good fortune of connecting with Anuj Jamadagni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anuj, how do you think about risk?
I somewhat believe in what Elon’s musk says “ we are probably living in a simulation”. Life is full of opportunities and chances. Opportunities to be happy and successful and chances to change something for the better. Once an opportunity reveals itself to you, grab it. If you have a deep will or desire for anything, you’ll attract any opportunities automatically.That’s the secret! It seems so simple right? But the million dollar question is – how would we know what opportunity is aligned with our goals? Taking risky life decisions could also put us in stressful situations and distract us from our goals. Risks are taken in desperation to change the current situation. We take risks in order to attain our desires, but sometimes we may fall short. That’s when you can tell the difference between a healthy risk and a learning experience. Once we learn our mistakes, we can then correct them and fight back. This exact moment came to my life when I was working as a software Engineer in an IT company in India.
Life was very comfortable in India to be honest. I had a good paying job, my own place, a car. In no time, I achieved a respectable position in my company. But something was missing. I often reminisce about enjoying time with my friends and family. On weekends we attended parties, went on vacations, road trips, and had many fun times together. But then I noticed I had forgotten being with myself! I was hardly spending any time alone and I started feeling lonely when I did so. I strongly believe that spending time with yourself is very important for introspection. Once you understand who you are deep inside, you can then start to understand your goals better and make decisions accordingly. Self-analysis or Introspection can help in finding solutions to your problems, which inturn opens up many doors of opportunities for you if you let it. Back in India, deep down in my heart I still wanted to make films and start working full time. The conventional societal pressures were keeping me from quitting my job, which in itself was a huge risk. I asked myself many questions. Would I be accepted as an artist? What if I could never be able to get financially stable working as an artist? Would that cause problems in my family? As a small town boy, should I even dream of working fulltime in the glamor industry? Could I ever make my parents proud by doing something I really love doing? What if I fail? – All those questions hammered my mind every second when I spent time alone. I was running from the fact that I was not happy with my job and I was worried about my career which was ultimately affecting my life. I badly wanted to make a change but I wasn’t able to gather enough courage to take the risk and quit my job! I had bills to pay and also the new car that I bought to feel rich and happy! That happiness only lasted so long. I was stuck in a vicious cycle where I was being materialistic to achieve happiness but then I was miserable at work, which was basically paying for those materialistic things! Deep down I knew this is not true success or happiness but I was scared to accept the reality. That’s when an immeasurable type of support came to me. Seeing me go through this dilemma, my family made a decision to morally and financially support me taking this huge leap into a different world. I am very grateful for that. I was able to take the risk which changed my life for the better!
My passion towards films comes from serving society. There were already many unaddressed problems in our society before the pandemic and now the situations have become worse. The governments and authorities are busy mitigating governance issues and foreign threats and there is no one to address the people’s problems or to tell their stories. I want to be their communicator and give them the voice they deserve. I like starting conversations through my films that make people uncomfortable. I like talking about things that people usually ignore or don’t want to talk about! I believe that art and culture always plays a vital role in bringing a social change and Cinema is a very powerful medium that we have now. A collective thought of ideals and solutions for betterment of all humanity could lead us to a substantial utopian transformation. There is always a risk with any kind of change, but it is up to the society to be introspective and work together to make it happen for the betterment of all.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Art is an expression of feelings. Like any other feeling of love, pleasure, or happiness, art comes from an energy that is deep inside of you. You can give that energy a life of its own. It’s like a seed that’s been planted within you. But it’s up to you to decide how to cultivate it, grow it and cherish it’s beauty with the world. I feel art is more than just a medium of entertainment or business. Art adds so much more value to our lives and personal growth than we realize. We often forget, art can act as a gateway of communication between the creator and the viewer. Through this connection, you share an intimate reality and for an extended amount of time, the art provokes various thoughts in your mind and makes you think and introspect. You, a viewer, are now sharing a profound moment with the artist. I see art everywhere. I see art In Philosophy, Science, Engineering, Mathematics; in all these fields there lies an aesthetic of art. Like the first law of Thermodynamics, “energy can not be created or destroyed, it is transformed or conserved”. Art is no different. It’s an energy that exists in an artist, is then given a life and transformed into a physical representation, which is conserved by its viewer or audience. Cinema is one of its beautiful representations.
In terms of cinema, I find I enjoy a film most when it is both thought provoking and engaging, as well as entertaining too. I have had numerous arguments with my friends who believe that a film’s sole purpose is entertainment and business. By believing this, we are choosing to dismiss the communicational goal of a film. If we are not reading between the lines and not trying to understand the characters motivations, then we are not trying to understand the message the filmmaker is trying to convey. That means we are content with just spectating, having a good time, and judging something which we actually choose to not understand. This is a failure on both the ends! A good filmmaker not only makes a film to entertain and engage his audience but also to communicate and connect to them in order to convey his message. He/she will try to educate you through stories, scenes and characters and wants you to feel what the characters feel. We’ll have to start watching films to understand them in order to enjoy them better!
For me, Art is divine. I was born in a small town in India named Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra. I was very shy and introverted as a kid and had a select few friends. I was smart and confident and was also good at studies. I spent most of my time playing strategic video games, books and engaging in different hobbies. I was interested in many activities like playing chess, swimming, cricket, singing, reading and painting. I actively pursued one thing after the other with no real goals attached. I always started all those things with passion and excitement but then lost interest soon or later.There always comes a moment in an individual’s life when he/she recognizes the real potential and worth in themselves. I think that moment came to me while I was studying engineering. Physically I felt stuck because I didn’t like it, but mentally I was already a Filmmaker. That inspired my first short film, “Astitva”. And luckily for me, there were other Engineers feeling the same. Who knew that I would meet like minded artists in an engineering college. It was a rocky start but then things came together very well. I finished engineering and even took a job in IT but it didn’t last very long. I consider myself very lucky here to have supporting parents and family, helping me to come to LA and learn filmmaking. Now I’m working as a filmmaker in the Hollywood film industry. To be honest, I’m literally living my dream now. Initially, it was hard to fit in and get work, also the pandemic was an added difficulty. But then I managed to work remotely and built a clientele. We are now using the same remote workflow for our recent startup post-production company in the US named JPost Studios. Even with limited work during the pandemic I tried to keep myself busy and I produced a short film named BRASS. BRASS is a short observatory film about the rising homelessness problem in Los Angeles county, California. It got streamed on many prestigious OTT platforms such as Disney Hotstar, MX player, ShortsTV, hungama, Airtel xsteam and also received critical attention from IndieShorts magazine and some other online curators. I later edited a lot of non-fiction content like branded commercials, short documentaries, sizzles, trailers and also music videos which allowed me to work with some reputable companies such as RPA advertising, Universal Music Group, Disney, BuzzFeed, New wave Entertainment, MGX creative, Tastemade etc. Though a new company, Jpost Studios is growing fast as well! We just welcomed some new clients to our list like Pardee Properties is a wonderful real estate brokerage that sells high-end real-estate to the greater Los Angeles area. And PrettyLitter is a fast growing pet supplies company with a new take on kitty litter that cat lovers will definitely appreciate. Jpost Studios is also teaming with advertising agencies and production companies in the US, Canada and Europe, providing post-production services for Media and film. So I guess you can say we’ve got a lot to look forward to this year and I am very excited!
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Pic credit- Aubrinae Washington