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Directors’ Diaries – The Road To Their First Film (And How They Make Films)

DD directors collage dec 29 2015 LR

All directors LR



DD Cinematographers collage LR

By: Rakesh Anand Bakshi

ABOUT Directors’ Diaries

Film-directors tell stories; they narrate them through their films.

In this anthology, twelve iconic film directors tell us about their journey from their childhood to their first film, and how they make filmsAshutosh Gowariker, Zoya Akhtar, Farah Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Vishal Bhardwaj, Anurag Basu, Mahesh Bhatt, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Prakash Jha, Subhash Ghai, Santosh Sivan, Govind Nihalani.

 These directors also voice their opinions on the art and craft/technique of filmmaking, and the emotions that make them who they are, what it takes to be a director, professionally and personally for them.

Need or desire creates purpose, which creates intent, which creates will, which creates action or deeds, which creates mistakes or success, which creates experiences, which hones talents and skills, which eventually creates our destiny. I think, not just film people but people from other professions will make connections to their stories and how they make movies.

Reading about the earlier lives of these twelve directors can help us discover where we are today, and reveal to us why our connections to each other and the path we chose to walk is very precious. Because, our yesterday made today which makes our tomorrow.

And it is through this sharing of their moments, anecdotes, their experiences from childhood, and the process of how they reached the threshold of and made their first film that readers will relate, revel and find hope in their own struggles. And one will not give up easily or early, we would like to hope and believe, on reading these real-stories of people who make reel stories.

Directors’ Diaries also includes views of eight Cinematographers, on the director they have worked with who appear in this book. Ravi Varman, Mahesh Aney, Manikandan Velayutham, Natarajan Subramaniam, Sachin Krishn, Kabir Lal Ranjan Palit, Aseem Mishrathese wonderful creative souls help the directors create their vision and magic.

The Epilogue is a chapter on Art Director and Production Designer Nitin C. Desai. Because, the art director is one of the most important players on a film along with the cinematographer.

 Why the film-director?

 Film Director: The invisible, omnipotent presence in cinema – a word that holds spaces inaccessible to most people. In Directors’ Diaries, the author Rakesh Anand Bakshi attempts to demystify that figure through the voices of twelve of the most iconic film-makers of our time. In doing so, he happens upon the greater questions of destiny and chance and how random encounters can end up determining the course of a person’s life. A humble record of Hindi cinema’s old and new voices, and a study of the changing face of it, Directors’ Diaries is also an inspiring account of people battling great odds to achieve their dreams.

Hard Road Ahead!

In a world of instant coffee, the myth of instant success needs to be busted, I hope an aspiring filmmaker, and even those not in films, realize the number of years it has taken these directors to arrive at the threshold of their first film.

Anurag Basu
From his first job in films as an ‘extra’ actor (Dalaal 1993) to his first film as director, it was a journey of nearly eleven years.

Ashutosh Gowariker
From his first film as an actor (Holi 1983) to his first film as director, it was a journey of ten years.

Farah Khan
From her first job as an assistant director (TV series, Malgudi Days 1987) to her first film as director, it was a journey of seventeen years.

Govind Nihalani
From his first job as an intern as an assistant cameraman (Ziddi 1962) to his first film as director, was a journey of twenty years.

Imtiaz Ali
From his first job as a production assistant with Zee TV in 1994 to his first film as director, it was a journey of eleven to twelve years.

Mahesh Bhatt
From his first job in films as an assistant director (Do Raaste 1969) to his first film as director, it was a journey of five years.

Prakash Jha
From his first film as an assistant director (Dharma 1973) to his first film as director, it was a journey of ten years.

Santosh Sivan
From his first film as a cinematographer (Nidhiyude Katha 1986) to his first film as director, it was a journey of ten years.

Subhash Ghai
From his graduation as an actor from FTII- Pune to his first film as director, it was a journey of nine years.

Tigmanshu Dhulia
From his first job as an assistant art director (Sardar 1993) to his first film as director, it was a journey of fourteen years.

Vishal Bhardwaj
From his first film as a music composer (Veham 1984) to his first film as a director, it was a journey of eighteen years.

Zoya Akhtar
From her first job as writer with The Script Shop to her first film as a director, it was a journey of sixteen years.

 It was certainly not an easy ride! Never is.

Rakesh Anand Bakshi.


Web links:

Directors’ Diaries (DD):
DD at FB: https://www.facebook.com/DirectorsDiaries
DD @ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfstvnVNw6HPKSeOWcSHjzw


Links to book’s promos:

The directors’ on Cinema & Filmmaking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8bnPI95HCs

The directors’ Beginnings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgbvst-mhOw

The directors’ Convictions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQgoJwP1sd8

The directors’ Challenges: https://youtu.be/1BmjGGurM5U

Imtiaz Ali’s 1st film being his film school & our book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzC18coaoLw

Zoya Akhtar on being a 1st time film maker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsdg8UNfwKs

Shyam Benegal on ‘Why directors’: https://youtu.be/3-u3GRgkt8E  


Mumbai Press-launch (Aug 9th 2015):

  • (length 30 minutes.)




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Founder: Beautiful Bicycles Beautiful People 

Blog: https://www.facebook.com/groups/313526712019526/



Plant A Life – Plant Angels (Giving back to our ‘mother’ Earth the oxygen we consume) https://www.facebook.com/PlantAngels/


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Lyricist Anand Bakshi’s blog:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5668590917/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/rakeshbakshi


Twitter id: @RakBak16


Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakesh-anand-bakshi-0453b437?trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile



An audio version of our book for the Blind only


Now Available! The audio version of our book Directors’ Diaries, for the visually impaired (Blind) only, at no cost!!!

The ideas of this audio version was born when I met visually impaired students (Happy Home School For The Blind, Worli) and asked them about their radio listening habits – because I was writing a book on radio presenters and i wanted to inform readers what radio means to those without the blessing of sight.

One teen student asked me about my profession, and I replied I am an author and have written this book.

This student asked me, “…have you made this book for us, in Braille or an audio version? Because even we know about film directors, we hear songs and movies, and would like to know about their journey to filmmaking and how they make films. So why have you not made a version for us?”

I felt like an idiot! And decided to do one for them asap! Because I realised, only then, that even the visually impaired are potential ‘readers’ of this book, so I must create an audio version. And make it available to them at no cost.

I had just learnt a few days back that the visually impaired are massive consumers of radio and familiar with radio presenters, so I decided to ask the radio presenters and radio professionals (Gaurav Sharma and Indira Rangarajan) known to me if they would like to contribute their voice for such a book, and all of them agreed.

The radio presenters visited the recording studio belonging to The National Association For The Blind and at no charge they permitted us to record this book’s chapters in their voices, It took us over a year to accomplish this, and I received great support from Balakrishna, Robinson and Ms Pallavi Kadam. This process took over a year to accomplish, as all of them work through the week and have long hours on their mics.

It’s now available, at literally no ‘cost’/price, to nearly 1 crore visually impaired people in India, those registered with the National Association For The Blind, they can get the audio version of our book from the Talking Books Library (national Association For The Blind): nab.india.library@gmail.com

This audio ‘book’ was thanks to Harper Collins India (Shatanu for initiating the permission at Harper Collins India) and myself waiving off our royalty earnings and is a kind of our tiny donation for the visually impaired. The people who contributed their voice for this book’s chapters, the radio presenters and radio professionals, did not charge a fee for making this audio version available in their voice.

Thank you to Hrishikay, Anita, Fali, Meha, Rohini, Adaa, Karan, Siddharth, Annie, Aditya, Gaurav and Indira, for contributing your voice to our book’s chapters.

Volume 1 of Directors’ Diaries:

Ashutosh Gowariker,
Farah Khan,
Zoya Akhtar,
Imtiaz Ali,
Vishal Bhardwaj,
Govind Nihalani,
Santosh Sivan,
Mahesh Bhatt,
Anurag Basu,
Prakash Jha,
Tigmanshu Dhulia, Subhash Ghai.
Nitin Desai – Epilogue

An outstanding novel bunch of book lovers (and foodies!), #TheNovelBunch! 

Founded by enthu-cutlet Maria Miranda. @ Houston, USA.

Thank you Picto Writ for hosting the book reading of #DirectorsDiaries 🎬📘🖌 and crafting the amazing Box Office posters, filmy scrolls, and the ‘pani puri’ cuisine 😉 As imaginative creative as a film director or production designer would have put together such an evening. Lots of love to you all.

Never before has any one taken so much effort to host an evening of book reading and discussion.

Thank you
Sunita, Toxicologist,
Madhulika, Professor,
Sadhna, Doctor & alternative medicine
Maria, Professor,
Sabera, Teacher,
Afroz, Dentist,
Anuradha, school counsellor,
Manisha, fundraiser, tv host.
Picto, writer.

All dressed up Bollywood Style ‘heroines’

#AmolGupte and #Empathy

Amol Gupte has made some wonderful films, from his many years of experiences working alongside Children doing workshops with them over the years. (He was also the chairperson of the Children’s Film Society, India.)

Children have so much to teach us – imagination, boldness, out of the box thinking, and most importantly, empathy. Amol’s film Taare Zameen Par and Stanley Ka Dabba were not just relationship films, but stories that had empathy naturally inherent in the storytelling.


Amol Gupte