Film direction is an art up scaled with skills which enables those million people watching the same film to watch at the same time different million movies. It all lies in the hands of a film maker how he/she makes it possible for their audience to decipher his perspective of the film in their own different mirrors. This time we unwind the story of Mr. Shiv Panikker who is a film director and a newfangled author!
Mr. Panikker graduated from New York Film Academy in 2014 and came back to India. He kick-started his career as an assistant director and got his first break to take command as a director in a campaign for a push up bra commercial in the Bollywood movie Badlapur. Followed by his first break through was another humungous project of Prime Minister Honorable Narendra Modi for Digital India Campaign.
Even though the film making procedure of our country was enriched and full of color, he also wanted to witness the happenings of the film making procedure outside of India. So, he went to Bangkok and started working as a corporate film maker. This corporate film making was already giving him a prodigious yield, fixed fate and numerous opportunities. While he had gone to visit his parents in Dubai, he got a casting call for extras on his Instagram account for a Michael Bay movie starring Ryan Reynolds (6 Underground).
Despite of having his career established as a film director, he chose to opt for that opportunity and he was selected for a role of a soldier. Mr. Panikker only wished to see the working and vision of this great director and performance of evergreen Ryan Reynolds. This entire collection of incidents inspired him to give up on his corporate film making career and take up independent film making. It empowered him to let go his fixed opportunity and rather jump into the individual artistry of film making.
With the guidance of his ex-boss, he started working on his own script in Bangkok itself. While he was working on his script, he became a victim of debit card theft via dark web and all his money was stolen. After a lot of ruckus, he was finally able to retrieve all his money back. But this mystery of dark web engulfed one of his friends too. After a lot of research, the statistics related to the fraud taking place over dark web left him shocked. He came to know that there have been numerous cases of debit card theft via the dark web and 98% of those were Indian cards. This occurrence also became an eye opener for Mr. Panikker as it gave him the plot for his script and inspired him to write the story of “Gone Case”.
Mr. Panikker came back to India once his script was ready. It was pitched to several executives from various streaming platforms and was praised for its uniqueness and exclusivity. But it all came to a halt when every party demanded it to be to commercialized with addition of songs or a love story in order to make it quirky for the Indian audience. Mr. Panikker wasn’t ready to tailor his story and vision for the sake of commercialization. It became an obstacle for him to get a deal that would respect his creation without any tailoring and other directors and production houses. Commercialization was simply not Mr. Panikker’s vision for his distinctive story.
On his 31st birthday, he got a call from one of his friends named Mr. Karan Danda who is an architect. They exchanged their common grounds of hardships and Mr. Danda suggested that he would come up with sketches for his story. He molded those sketches in such a way which was a hard one to say a no to. This inspired Mr. Panikker to cast his story into the form of a comic and further converted it into a graphic novel which is at present known as “Gone Case”. Mr. Panikker was satisfied with it as it depicted his original vision without any hampering. He expresses his gratitude towards his whole team and illustrator Mr. Karan Danda.
Mr. Panikker has started a vlog on his Instagram account. He used to get a lot of messages from people with their doubts regarding film making and becoming an actor. Being an outsider himself and having no godfather in any industry, he decided to reach out to people like him and giving the learnings from his experience back which eventually he never had a chance to receive. And that marked the beginning of his vlog, which fortunately is a huge hit now where he answers all those questions. He has worked with actors like Ms. Fatima Sana Sheikh (Dangal), Ms. Radhika Bangia, Mr. Deepak Kalra, Mr. Rohit Khandelwal (Mr. India 2015) and to name a few.
As the entire nation is going through a rough patch during this Covid-19 and so is the film industry. Mr. Panikker keeps on shuttling between Bangkok, Dubai and Mumbai and got caught up in Mumbai due to lockdown and corona scenario. He was planning to organise a magnificent launch for “Gone Case” but had to postpone due to the current situation.
He always wanted to release “Gone Case” as a film but due to hindrances turned it into a graphic novel and released it on June 27, 2020. “Gone Case” became Amazon’s hottest new seller just after 3 days of release and also made its way amongst the top 50 graphic novels alongside Batman & Spiderman. They started getting calls to launch “Gone Case” as screenplay adaptation and they are at present working on that. Yet still, Mr. Panikker’s ardent desire stays with the shooting and production of “Gone Case” as a movie! They are planning of releasing “Gone Case 2.0” on coming Halloweens or New Year’s Eve.
Mr. Panikker is a perfect example of overcoming the shadows of existing advisory in any field, yet trusting your skills and potency to let the colors of success prevail. One cannot be stopped from doing what his/her heart wishes to. The work can be delayed but cannot be stopped. There is no right age to arrive at your dream destination and build your own empire but a right time. And when the time is right, things will automatically fall into place and in your favor. Even in these hard times of Covid-19, stand strong and don’t lose hope. The sun will rise and we will try again!
Personal message by Mr. Shiv Panikker for the readers out there, “Please use social media and don’t look at it as work. Be passionate about social media as it is the fastest and easiest way to monetize your passion on a wider scale.”
- Team Satyavachan