INDIA: Prashen Kyawal is a computer engineer by education, but as they say, the heart wants what it wants, so in the course of life Prashen materialized his dreams in the film industry.
Prashen is currently working as a post-producer on a feature film named ‘Chhorii’ directed by Vishal Furia and produced by Abundantia Entertainment. He also consults production houses as a creative producer to define strategies to work on short films, web series, and feature films.
Prashen started off as a graphic designer, animator, and video editor in the early 1990s and went on to head the multimedia division of the first and biggest IT company in the region. While working as a serial entrepreneur throughout this period he also had a parallel career as a film critic and film journalist which also led him to handle the PR of the internationally acclaimed feature film ‘Massan,’ and a Discovery channel show ‘Off-Road with Gul Panag.’ When his drive towards his calling kept enhancing, he knew there was no stopping then, in 2015, Prashen moved to Mumbai to start his journey as a filmmaker.
In five years since his migration to Mumbai, he has worked as a creative producer on a Netflix film ‘Rakkhosh,’ as a post producer on an MX Player web series named ‘The Missing Stone,’ he has also worked as a marketer on a Marathi film ‘Cappuccino’ which is on Amazon Prime Video. For an upcoming musical web series, Prashen has handled the music release and PR. His next feature film “Bali”, as a post producer, is slated to release on 16th April.
Such was the journey from a pioneer in multimedia to a filmmaker with the zeal to share his experiences as an industry outsider to inside as a filmmaker with young film industry aspirants.
But there is more to Prashen, he is a big food enthusiast and loves exploring the intricacies in the food industry. Prashen has a passion for adventure and traveling, but this multifaceted personality has a flair for poetry too. In fact, Prashen’s love for storytelling comes from his teenage years of writing.
The everlasting impact of films
When asked what inspires him to make films, Prashen says that his driving force is the desire to be the colleague of all the extraordinary filmmakers, storytellers who he is in awe of. He thinks what is heaven if not being surrounded by extremely talented wordsmiths, picture makers, music creators, performers, and of course getting rubbed by all that stardust with a possibility to be a star yourself one day.
Apart from these personal fundamental urges, he believes that films make an extremely deep impact on individual human beings and societies. Being in a nation that derives its entertainment, morals, learnings from the characters on celluloid, for him it is an extremely huge opportunity to use this medium for social change. But also, the sense of accomplishment of giving the audience a good story to watch is like a breath of fresh air to Prashen.
Regarding global issues that can be addressed through cinema, Prashen feels that discrimination based on race, religion, caste, class, or country is the biggest problem in almost all countries. “This needs to be tackled on the human psyche level which films storytelling can achieve,” said Prashen. “Another topic that needs attention is pollution and environmental issues. This is another thought process that can be planted in human minds through mass mediums like cinema, that we do not own this earth, we are merely a visitor and we need to leave the world keeping it as it was or better,” he added.
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Future of the film industry
Prashen then reflected on the future of the film industry. “2020 has created a tectonic shift in the industry and a lot will change and is changing with digitalization. People will start to understand that any industry grows by giving more options to its consumers and not otherwise. In terms of the film industry, it is the audience who we need to give freedom of how and when they want to access the content. Let them decide if they want to go to the cinema theatre with the family or pay a premium to watch the movie at home or wait for it to be broadcasted on satellite tv or be available on platforms which they subscribe or get with telephony plan. The word is to “DISTRIBUTE” and not restrict,” he told Transcontinental Times.
Digitalization had already made the power of “creation” more accessible and affordable, however, distribution has always been a tough nut to crack. With digital distribution, he hopes it democratises the process.
Lastly, while advising budding filmmakers, Prashen said, “ Keeping the honesty intact, not being corrupt by the business or glamour aspects of the industry, and keeping the enthusiasm to tell stories intact, are the most important needs. If you are in the film industry for any other reason, rather you choose any other profession.”
Another important thing he says is that filmmakers should avoid falling into a template or follow suit. Evolving oneself as a storyteller, filmmaker by dabbling into different genres, mediums, forms is what will keep freshness in ones’ work intact, believes Prashen.