Avantika Sharma from the city is on cloud nine. She has finished shooting for two Punjabi films Ek Kudi Punjab Di by Manmohan Singh and another untitled film by Trilok Singh, as an assistant director after completing a two-year course in film-making from Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Wood International Institute for Film, Television, Animation and Media Arts in Mumbai. “These films will give me an opportunity to carve a niche for myself,” says Avantika.
She can’t stop talking about her life at the academy, which she describes as the window to a whole new world of creative art. “I have been exposed to a different world of creative art – something which I haven’t done before,” she smiles. “We were taught every aspect of filmmaking – direction, cinematography, editing, sound-recording and acting, a must for any directorial venture,” she adds. She further informs, “At Whistling Woods, students get an opportunity to hone their skills and explore their capabilities,” “Earlier a person could learn direction by assisting a director. But, it is not possible today. Time has changed, and so has the technique. With so much improvement and latest development in the technology today, film-making has become a highly specialised job. One simply can’t learn it just like that without having a thorough knowledge of each and every aspect of filming,” she says emphatically. Her happiness is understandable. She is proud of her endeavour. So are her parents. Her father Gulshan Sharma, a retired Major of the Indian army, now the director of ITFT, Chandigarh and her mother, Indu Sharma, a documentary maker can’t stop raving about her.
Watching her mother calling the shots, Avantika had watched the thrill of filmmaking from close quarters. “ I wanted to do something big on my own,” she chips in. The opportunity came knocking on her doors when she saw an advertisement in a newspaper for the admission in Subhash Ghai’s Institute two years ago. “ I applied for the heck of it and it changed my life.”
As a student, Avantika has scripted, directed and also participated in a number of plays and events of repute and won several awards. Seeing her talent, her parents enrolled her in the Beginner’s screen-writing course at Central St. Martina College of Arts and Design at London. To learn the nuances of film-making, she joined the Asian Academy of Film and Television, Film City at Noida followed by a short-course in film-making at New York Film Academy in London in 2005 and made some documentaries which were highly appreciated by the faculty and the audience.
“I am determined to carve a niche for myself,” she smiles. “No doubt, it is a challenging field and a responsible one, too. I want to be innovative and different. Instead of showing the usual romantic cooing, I would like to show various facets of society in which we live,” she avers.