We had the good fortune of connecting with Rajendra Thakurathi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rajendra, how do you think about risk?
As an artist, I fully embrace risk taking. One of my favorite directors, Mike Nichols, once said that the only safe thing to do is to take a chance. I wholeheartedly agree with that. Without risk, you’d have the same boring car designs, same old scientific discoveries, same outdated fashion, same formulaic stories, same technology, same art. The whole excitement of creating something new, something bold would all disappear. We wouldn’t push boundaries and any substantial progress would stop. I believe that risk taking is the foundation of the film industry. Without risk, there’s no Lawrence of Arabia, no Titanic, no Being John Malkovich, no Black Panther, no Airplane! All creativity would stop. We wouldn’t learn, we wouldn’t grow. It’d be boring. Me personally, anytime I’m playing it safe and I’m getting close to my goal, I start to sense that there’s a problem and I have to shake it all up and take a risk. If I can’t surprise myself, I can’t grow, I can’t learn, I can’t create.
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.
I’m a writer, director currently based in Los Angeles, originally from Nepal. I create creative content, ranging from commercials, music videos to narrative and experimental films. I don’t like to box myself into one genre and like to mix genres and mediums in telling stories. I’m most passionate about fantasy, comedy and animated stories. If i can mix all three successfully, even better. Along with commercial viability and entertainment value, I also tend to look for meaning and personal connection in the things I create. I believe that if I find some meaning in the material I make, the audience will find some meaning in it too. Growing up in small town on Mahendranagar, Nepal, then coming to Kathmandu for my high school, then to the US for college and spending my early years in the midwest, then living and working in the east and west coasts, I believe I have gained a unique perspective of this world and I try to bring that in my stories. I start with a super creative idea, then personalize it. This makes it entertaining and unique, but at the same time, it adds value and depth to my work. What sets me apart from others is probably the unique perspective I bring to any story. I like to make timeless work, something that transgresses cultures, connects us humans and explores humanity, something that has value and meaning to not just somebody in Los Angeles, but also to somebody in my hometown in Mahendranagar. The humor, creativity and depth in my stories and storytelling sets me apart from other artists.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I like spending time in nature more than going to the crowds. So, we’d go camping to Joshua Tree or Big Bear Mountains or spend time at a beach. Venice, Manhattan and Malibu are my favorite beaches here. But I understand that people get excited about seeing Hollywood and the usual tourist destinations like Hollywood sign, studio tours, etc . So, I’d definitely take them there too. I also like to take them to special film screenings or private film parties where filmmakers or celebrities are there in person. This gets them excited. Special cinema theaters like New Beverly, American Cinematheque; museums like Broad Museum and LACMA are also usually on my list. For eating, we like to try local food trucks and also Ramen places in Little Tokyo and restaurants in hollywood, west hollywood and downtown. I’m not much into night life, but I do like to tag along once in a while. Hollywood and downtown are great for that.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Artists aren’t made in vacuum. It takes years and decades of dedication and passion from the artist, but along with that, it also takes support, love and encouragement from others, which gives rise to a successful artist. In my story, there are so many people who deserve this credit, starting with my parents and family, whose sacrifices, love and blind faith has brought me this far. Then, it’s the close friends who have lifted me up when I’ve fallen down spiritually, emotionally and even financially; friends who have always supported my ideas even when they were mediocre. There are my mentors, teachers and peers from my college, grad school and the industry who have constantly encouraged me to keep pushing, not give up and made me believe that no dream is too big to dream. At last, I’m also grateful to the strangers whose love and kind words have made me keep doing this.