Today, Shaan finds himself at the top of his game. As a celebrated writer, director, and editor, this multitalented filmmaker has won audiences over around the world. His films Fitting In, The Unreal, and his script Bullied have gone on to great acclaim at many prestigious international film festivals, and his work on a commercial for the Dickens Christmas Fair was such a success, that he is now working on another, longer commercial for the fair.
“My style of filmmaking changes with each project. The story structure, shot selection, the look and pace of the film, editing style and length depends on the kind of concept I choose. I don't limit myself to a certain genre or style of filmmaking. My philosophy is that everything should sync in and make a complete piece of art, whatever may the genre be,” said Shaan.
Shaan’s versatility in regard to filmmaking is limitless. In 2014, he wrote, directed, edited and produced the documentary Purpose Driven Study for Dharoi Canal Command Area. A project close to his heart and home, the film is by Gujarat Water Resources Development Corporation (GWRDC), the area near Dharoi Canal Command area in Gujarat, India was found waterlogged. Thousands of acres of fertile land were being wasted. They gave the project of finding the solutions to the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology’s (CEPT) department of Geomatics and Space Administration under World Bank Project's Aid of Hydrology Project 2. This documentary shows the research from the grass-root level to the findings of solutions and the betterment of the future farmers.
“Because this was such an important project, I couldn't resist my interest when I was approached to make a documentary on this. I always love to make documentaries about real people and real stories. Through them, I can learn a lot and also spread positivity in the world. For this project, the hard work and the better use of science and technology was a great achievement by the scientist and the people related to it. I had to show it,” said Shaan.
As the Principal Investigator of the project, Professor Anjana Vyas gave Shaan the task of making a documentary. The documentary was submitted to GWRDC and the World Bank, a funding agency. In the end, he successfully made a 22-minute documentary that covered many aspects, such as, a research, a scientific perspective, villagers’ point of views and possible impacts to the society.
“It has been several years of a professional relationship with Shaan. I believe in his creativity, professionalism and hard work. I’m impressed by his work ethic and have a very positive belief towards his work in film. Shaan is one of my favorites when it comes to the preparation of a documentary on any of my research work. I would definitely give him the opportunity to make more projects in future,” said Vyas.
The main task of this documentary was to cover the view of the people of the villages who were suffering from the flooding. Shaan had to look into their coping mechanisms and the local techniques they found for the waterlogged arears near the Dharoi Canal Command Area. Having no prior knowledge regarding the research science was a large hurdle for Shaan to overcome, but he did so seamlessly. He arranged meetings, conducted interviews, and learned from experts to thoroughly understand the research. He also interviewed multiple village people to find out what they had suffered and the issues they were facing due to this issue. Shaan had always loved science and being able to fuse his interests of science and filmmaking made all of the research fun for the director.
“This was a huge scale project and I literally had to study as a student of science and sit with the researchers to understand the process through and through. On top of that, I had the responsibility to show it visually on the screen with such ease that any layman could understand,” said Shaan.
Once Shaan’s research was concluded, he wrote the script and narrative for the documentary. From there, he created a small team of four (an assistant director, a motion graphics designer, a videographer, and himself) to make the documentary. He also designed dynamic and easy to understand motion graphics. His extensive research allowed for a smooth and seamless filmmaking experience. It helped him design, plan, and lead the entire documentary. It was an interesting experiment for the filmmaker. It required an in-depth reading, conducting several meetings for brainstorming, handling the production and post-production, hours of editing and designing the footage and graphics during post-production to come out with the proper output.
“It was a huge project and a hell of a learning experience. I loved that whole journey and very happy that it reached its success,” said Shaan.
Upon completion of the film, Shaan was immensely satisfied with what he had created. Prior to working on Purpose Driven Study for Dharoi Canal Command Area, Shaan had made similar documentaries, including one about the waste management system of India, one about Hiware Bazaar village, which used to be under the draught prone patch that transformed into one of the wealthiest and self-sustained villages of India, and another about Bhuleshwar Temple, which was famous for its mythological and historical importance. However, he feels this documentary truly made a difference.
“It gives me deep satisfaction of showing the work of real people to the world and bringing change for the betterment of people and nature. Turning difficult scientific and technical research into an easily understandable half-hour documentary was a huge goal to achieve. I'm surprised and happy at the same time thinking about it,” he said.
Undoubtedly, Shaan is destined for greatness as a filmmaker, if he is not already there. At only 29, he has become a dynamic leader of his industry, showing his colleagues and audiences just what he is capable of. He encourages many to find their passion, and if filmmaking is what inspires you, then persevere and make a difference.