November 27, 2022

The Professional Times

Excellence in Every Word

“When I looked at life through the camera, I felt like I could finally see it” – Film Director Sanjay Mathew

Sanjay has been in the film industry for almost 20 years. Till date, he has directed many Ad Films, Corporate Films,  TV Shows, Short Films and Digital Films for renowned companies like ASB Japan, Jyothy Laboratories, Birla Sunlife, Volkswagon, ITV,  ZEE Network, Asianet among others and now he is preparing for a feature movie.

TPT asked about his struggle & success, Sanjay said, “I believe, there’s nothing called struggle. I just go with the flow. I evaluate things and take the risk. Obviously, there are ups and downs. But the odd failures don’t stop me from trying. It motivates me to get back on my feet and keep going. So the attitude that you carry matters. I learned from my failures and made sure I didn’t repeat them.”

Sanjay Mathew – Director (Ads Films, Corporate Films, TV Shows, Short Films, Digital Films)

Sanjay shares his experience about the failures that encourages him the most and said, ”

I have a different perspective on this one. I try to keep it simple. If certain things don’t happen, I just accept the fact that it was actually not meant to be mine. I don’t let these failures affect me hard and demotivated me. I follow this simple ‘funda’. I believe that I came into this world to do a job and if one thing is not working out the way I wanted, I move on to the other job and make sure it turns out to be a success.

Sanjay would not give any particular advice and he really does not regret anything as he had a different perspective back then and a different perspective today. He admits that age brings maturity and he always believes that what has to happen, will happen. It has been a beautiful journey, and each experience (good or bad) has helped me to learn and grow.

My life has been beautiful. So if I’m destined to be reborn, I would love to be reborn as Sanjay Mathew only.

Sanjay, “My life has been beautiful, so if I’m destined to be reborn, I would love to be reborn as Sanjay Mathew only.”

While describing about developing himself outside of the work environment, Sanjay said, ” I’m the same person on and off the set. No one can carry a dual personality. It’s advisable to stay as real as possible. Most important thing is to stay natural and good with everyone, be it at work or outside (of work). It eases the stress and lets you to enjoy the moment to the fullest. Trust me it really works.” 
Talking about the most courageous thing he has done in his life, he said, “About 7 years back, I got a call from a producer. I had not met him, but he wanted me to direct a short film for him. As the project sounded good, I decided to do it. But the producer didn’t pay me a single penny to start the shoot. As my gut feeling said this project will click,  I went ahead with a strength of around 60 technicians and the cast. The location was more than 500 kms away from my place. We went there and started the shoot. Not once in those 4 days of hectic shoot did I take the pressure that the producer had not turned up, or that I would lose money. The producer turned up on the final day and he made full payment. 

But that simply was a risk I took by trusting my gut. There was a good chance of it turning out to be a loss. Now when I look back, I don’t regret taking that risk. If you believe in something, you should definitely go after it.

Sanjay Mathew with Associate Director Jyoti Bajaj.

Sanjay talks about his challenges and said, “I am an easy going person. So I don’t take much stress. Tik-Tok and Meditation are my stress busters. I don’t have too many expectations because I accept things as they come. This has made my journey smooth. So like I said earlier, I would love to be reborn as Sanjay Mathew again, who does Tik-Tok and meditation to calm his nerves.”

TPT asked Sanjay, how he listens and connect with others, he said, “I have to connect with everyone I work with. Whether it’s my Cinematographer, Art Director, Associate Director or Scriptwriter, etc. Their suggestions and talks have a broader impact on how I carry my work forward. So it’s essential for me to listen to all of them. I do more by listening than doing. This helps me to broaden my thinking and grow. Ultimately, film-making is a collaborative effort. So as a director you have to take their views and advice before filming things. These perspectives play a key role in the success or failure of a project. So I have to be ‘all ears’ for their inputs.

Sanjay Mathew - Shades of life
Sanjay Mathew – Shades of Life

Having the right set of people to work with, keeps him motivated. His team consists of young and vibrant individuals who are passionate about what they do. They motivate him, always keep him on my toes and this helps him to move ahead swiftly. He wants to do things now and make the present pleasant. That is where these youngsters play a vital role. They ensure that the energy on the set is always vibrant.

Every film is a new journey and a different experience. Each project comes with some tough situations.

I can’t sit back and think about what went wrong.  If I do, the next big thing won’t happen. So I try to finish every film on its merit and then move ahead.

Sanjay believes it is 70% planning and 30% execution and with wonderful associate who breaks down the project (based on logic, logistics and feasibility of taking on the project). My associate will ask 100% questions and once we have the answers, then it is plain execution. There will be minor hiccups here and there, but the problems, if any, would be small. The idea is to be proactive, find a solution ship, and Sanjay ensures a smooth completion of the project.

Sanjay talks about the favorite part of your current job and said, “Everything. As a filmmaker, I’m involved in different aspects of a project, be it cinematography, art-direction, scripting,  screenplay, etc.. In my words, this is the best industry in the world. There’s nothing that’s better than the other one. Every aspect of a film project has a special place. Having said that, as a filmmaker, I’m in a happy place!”

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