Vinod Sam Peter studied engineering, had a flourishing career in the IT industry but there came a time when he realized that he needed to work towards fulfilling his dream of becoming a filmmaker. ‘Puglya’, his debut feature length film, has received accolades at several prestigious film festivals across the globe and is expected to release in theatres soon. Apart from being the producer, director and co-writer of ‘Puglya’, Vinod has also been credited as one of the music directors on this Marathi-language feature film.
In this interview, the multi-faceted filmmaker talks about his journey from being an engineer to foraying into the world of cinema, the process of writing the script for the film, love for music and more.
Puglya has made rounds of several festivals and been received well everywhere. Do you feel happy with the response you have received so far?
Absolutely! The response has been very encouraging. We have won 47-48 awards for the film from different festivals. The love that we received at the festivals made us feel that maybe we did succeed in making a film that touches the audience’s hearts. I hope to release the film in theatres soon but the situation right now seems to be really sad. I am sure like everything else this phase will also get over soon. I am being patient and waiting for the right time to release the film.
Making a film which features children and an animal must have been quite a challenge.
Most filmmakers try to stay away from subjects which necessitates the inclusion of children or animals. It was difficult but a lot of fun at the same time. I conducted workshops with all the actors for 14-15 days. I think animals are better than human beings when it comes to learning new things (laughs). They understand things much more quickly. We had veterinary doctors on the set all the time. We took every necessary measure to ensure that the children and the pug felt safe and comfortable during the shoot.
Your childhood friend Dr. Sunil Pralhad Kharade came to you with a short story. You got so inspired by it that you decided to write a full-fledged feature film script out of it. How was the process of writing the screenplay for the film?
The script is the hero of our film ‘Pulgya’. When Sunil shared the story and proposed to make a short film out of it, I thought it had a lot of potential. Sunil and I, along with our co-writer Sanjoo Talpade, spent almost a year to finalize the script. A lot of effort went into the process but when we read the final draft, we were very happy with it.
You had studied engineering and even worked in the IT sector for a long time. How did the switch to filmmaking happen?
There are certain things we are passionate about in life but we end up not pursuing them because of various reasons. I was always very passionate about creative arts and filmmaking. I was doing a very well-paying job in the IT sector but I was beginning to get tired of it. One day, I told my wife that I wanted to leave the job. Incidentally, I was going to be promoted the next day. I was very sure about my decision and my wife supported me too. I wanted some time to introspect. You cannot sail on two boats at the same time. I had to take a break from my job to focus on achieving some of my dreams. I decided to devote myself to pursuing a career in filmmaking.
Apart from being a filmmaker, you are also a musician and music producer. How did music come into your life?
I used to sing right from the time I was a child. Then, later I started playing instruments like the keyboard, guitar and flute. I used to ghost-compose for some people as well. I even came up with an album in the year 2011. All this was happening while I was still working in the IT sector.
What are you doing next?
I was supposed to start a film in March but couldn’t start it because of the prevailing situation. I don’t think I will be able to make that film this year. There is another film that is currently in the discussion stage. We are in talks with a big actor for it. If everything goes well, I will start shooting for it by the end of this year.