New Delhi: He always knew storytelling was his calling. But the medium remained unknown for Abhinay Deo until he began directing ad films in 1993. Now, as he shifts his focus to feature films with "Game" and "Delhi Belly", he hopes to bring to Bollywood the discipline, visual sense and detailing that he mastered in the advertising world.
"I would like to believe what I bring to the table from advertising is discipline, the visual sense, and the most important - detailing. In advertising, you have to take care of every detail, and that is what I`ll always do in my films as well," Deo told IANS here.
He was born into a film family - to veteran actors Mahesh and Seema Deo, who kept him away from living the life of a star kid. However, simply put, creativity and cinema ran in his blood.
"I always wanted to be a storyteller. I remember, when I was in my eighth grade, I wanted to tell a story for the first time, I wrote a play. I won many prizes for it. But I never understood how I could nurture this desire of wanting to tell stories.
"My parents are film veterans, but they never let me grow up like a star kid. I didn`t have friends from film families and I never used to go to the sets. I was brought up in an environment where I was disconnected from films because my parents always believed that education is the base for everything, and after you are well-educated, then you can choose to do what you want," said Deo.
He studied architecture and worked on a few projects to fulfil his parents` wish - but storytelling always remained at the back of his head. He wanted to make Hindi films, but chose advertising instead.
"I ventured into ad films in 1993. I felt at that point, Hindi films were in a bizarre mode - they were in between being bad and very bad. From 1993 to a little before 2000 was a very dodgy period for the film industry. We were making strange movies, trying to copy the west, but we weren`t getting there! At that point, I was sure I didn`t want to do cinema.
"Advertising seemed like a nicer, interesting, intelligent and challenging way of storytelling. I worked hard, and on April 1, 2002, I started my own company. From then, I made 10 years of advertising," he reminisced, and flashed a smile full of satisfaction.
He now follows in the footsteps of Prasoon Joshi. R. Balki, John Mathew Mathen, Dibakar Banerjee and Pradeep Sarkar are among other ad filmmakers in Bollywood.
His directorial debut "Game" hit the screens April 1 and didn`t receive rave reviews. His next film "Delhi Belly" is set for a July 1 release, and one can`t help but notice the "1" factor!
"Yes, for strange reasons - everything I do is number one! My birthday - 10.01.1970 also totals up to 1," he quipped.
Jokes apart, there`s a lot more the 40-year-old hopes to bring to Bollywood.
"Many people believe that people from the advertising world can`t make feature films. They think we don`t think of the content and that`s a misnomer! I will speak for myself - I honestly believe a script is everything - and not just in feature films, it is the same in advertising too.
"If you don`t have the right content, no amount of visual effects, beautiful imagery and special stunts is going to be of any use. If the foundation itself is weak, what`s the point in painting your building red?"