Nitin Shashindran is a name most of the independent filmmakers are aware of
He is an Ad filmmaker, Writer, Director, Producer, Lyricist, Curator, and
That’s a long list but he is the Founder & Producer of Mumbai based creative agency QUAFF too.
His love and passion for cinema did not let him stop
after multiple and multiple failures.
Though his journey began officially a decade back, his love and passion for
cinema stung him in his childhood.
Influences in his Childhood
Born into a middle-class family to Shashindran and Soumya, Nitin had limited exposure to cinema through Television and Cinema Hall, but from a very young age, he was passionate about the moving images. His school did not promote much of a theatre or drama scene, so he participated in every possible cultural event like Dance or musicals.
Since his passion for cinema never ended, all he knew was he wanted to be in
films, though he had no idea about anything related to films. He thought acting is
a way to make it in films, so he asked his friend Shrinivas (Seenu) who always
motivated Nitin to pursue what he wished for. He failed the audition and realized
it’s not an easy cup of tea, moreover it wasn’t meant for him. Soon after his high-
school, he joined diploma which did not long for a year despite of scoring
the distinction in the first year, he dropped out, which he credits to Francis Ford
Coppola’s The Godfather. That was the moment he understood the power of
storytelling. His parents did not approve of his choice initially, but his passion
and madness is something they could not ignore. He made friends with
Cinematographer KM Sujith took him to various film festivals and that’s how
it all began for him.
Ways of Learning
Nitin could not afford film schools and the internet became his school. So he
decided to self-learn. He began watching movies, studied the method of Coppola,
Hitchcock, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, and every filmmaker and their methods
that came in his way.
He wanted to be a writer and director.
In 2011, he went door-to-door carrying his “Bio-data” to all film production offices
to find an internship as an assistant director for Ad films, Short film, and Feature
films. He got most of the gig when he agreed to work for free of cost.
He was so desperate that he returned to make his first short film with his
Musician friends Vijay and Ram who were Sound Engineering pass outs, then
working with a studio based in Thane.
He made a short film by casting his childhood friend Prashant.
It was a first short film Witten, Directed, Shot and
Edited by Nitin Shashindran, which was a disaster. In 2012, he made another
short film with the same team but there was some addition of cast and crew
members. That’s when he got associated with his another childhood friend
Prabhat Iyer and Vivek Menon.
The film was sent to MAMI and failed miserably. Then he made two more short
films, which failed too. He decided to improve his craft but had no money left. So
he decided to do a small budget corporate AV. He used most of the pay to hire
good equipment to shoot in good quality. Soon after some gigs, he realized
that you don’t need a heavy budget to shoot good videos. He started undertaking
more Gigs and delivered quality worth more than the budget.
That year he met a fellow filmmaker Siddhesh Danait, an association, and friendship that nurtured him to a professional writer, which he is today. Clients were happy but there were multiple rejections he had to face by clients due to no office and registered company.
With the money he had, he established an advertising agency in 2014
called N.V Creations.
He saw this whole process as a learning point towards making his first full-length feature films. But, there happened to be some clients who never paid after the delivery. As an owner of an SME, he had no power to fight back.
Learning Finance & Fundraising
This happened multiple times and he was fed up because he kept paying
off most of his technicians from his pocket until he put an end to this and
started learning wealth consulting for films and televisions.
He started working alongside multiple film financiers and investors as an intern, to create a network that will be helpful for him while he starts making the films he wanted to and association with producers/distributors enhanced his film business knowledge.
His vision was to make the kind of film which he wants to by 2020. He made
good money, along with some wrong investment decisions where he lost all his
money in 2016. That led to depression because he had invested from his
personal funds, and by loaning money from the market. Due to demonetization,
he lost most of his assured projects which got him bankrupted. Nitin shut his
operations at N.V Creations and started working as a freelancer till 2018. He took
a job for a travel show in Delhi and returned back to Mumbai after his health
collapsed. He lost that show and found a job as a Creative Producer at IndieFolio
Network –India’s Largest Network for Creative professionals. Love and
Passion for cinema was still alive in him and he decided to quit the job to rebrand
N.V Creations to QUAFF.
From 2017 to 2019, he studied the current market standardization and branding
for films in depth. Today, QUAFF is aggregating content for major streaming
platforms like Netflix, Prime Videos, Hotstar, MX Player, Zee5, and more. QUAFF
is venturing into film production by producing content in-house.
Success & Gratitude to Peers
Nitin finds it very honorable to be nominated for 2020 Forbes India’s Top 100 managers.
While he credits the achievement of QUAFF to the teammate who always stood
by him Prabhat Iyer, Franklin Selvaraj, and Rohan Bachchav he believes that he
would be nothing today if Prashant Shetty, Vivek Menon, Prabhat Iyer, Siddhesh
Danait and Abhishek Nagvekar would’ve given up on him, just like his parents
believed in him.
When asked about the journey he smirked and quoted, “I’ve been falling
ever since I started running, I may fall again, but I am
adamant about getting up.”
At the age of 27, without any background or mentor in films, he made it this far.
He had seen many failures before reaching to this point but he never gave up
because of his determination and never-ending Love & Passion for Cinema.
That’s a take away from Nitin’s Journey.