Chetan Parwana, known as DirectorGifty, is ready with his Punjabi film directorial debut, Mukhtiar Chadha. DirectorGifty, who has co-written the film with lead actor Diljit Dosanjh and is also the DoP on the film, started his career as a music video editor and went on to become one of the most successful video directors on the Punjabi music circuit. Here’s Parwana in conversation with Rohini Nag
You are one of the most prolific music video directors in Punjab. How did you start out as a director?
I have worked in the industry for 12 years. I started my career as a music video editor and it was a gradual shift to becoming a director. I always wanted to be a good technician, regardless of the craft I chose. I have been lucky and got to work with most Punjabi singers in the business, from Diljit to Honey Singh to Gippy (Grewal) and every other artiste.
Your debut film Mukhtiar Chadha will be releasing soon. How did the film shape up?
That’s an interesting story. I was shooting with Diljit and we were working on his track called Kharku. Our camera equipment was damaged and we were trying to sort out the issue and waiting for our new equipment to arrive. Since I was harbouring this idea for a long time, I shared just the gist with Diljit and he loved it. So we decided to cultivate it and make it into a feature film. That’s how the project fell in place.
A film works only if it can establish a connection with the audience and that is possible only if the characters are well-rounded. Hence we created the character of Mukhtiar Chadha, who is not only lovable but also someone we have all met, as it were.
The film also marks the debut of actor Diljit Dosanjh as a writer. How did that collaboration begin?
After we decided to make the film, Diljit said, ‘Let’s look for a good writer who can do justice to the content.’ Since we couldn’t find anyone, we decided to write it together. The film took two years in the making. I always write the concepts of my music videos and I am the editor and the DoP as well. I have played these same roles in this film too.
The trailers and songs of the film have been well-appreciated. What can the audience expect from the film?
If the audience liked the trailer, I assure you they will love the film too. Diljit is a fabulous actor and the film has entertaining content too. It is the story of a witty man who lives in Old Delhi but het gets into trouble because of his honesty. The comedy in the film is witty and situational, not slapstick. The film has a slice of action, romance and comedy, and none of it in excess. It is a perfect blend of all the essential ingredients required in a Punjabi film.
How different is making a full-length film from shooting a 5-minute music video?
There is no major difference; the technique and work are the same. The only difference is that a music video takes up around 15 days to make whereas a film takes much longer. Creatively, the commitment required for both varies based on the time you devote to each. Neither of the two is difficult nor easy; it’s a mix of both. Directing music videos has always been my passion. Film and music videos are two different concepts. Films have bigger budgets than music videos. It is also easy to condense the concept in a few minutes in a music video, whereas in films the storyboard needs to be well constructed.
You directed Amitabh Bachchan in the song Party with the Bhoothnath from the film Bhoothnath Returns. What was it like to work with him?
It was a surreal experience. He is one of the most humble and creatively unrestricted men I have ever met. Initially, I was awestruck by his presence. He doesn’t have airs about him being a mega star and, as an actor, he follows a director’s vision to the fullest. I was lucky to have that opportunity. I had worked with Honey on a lot of his projects and he brought me on board for that song.
I have a concept for a Hindi film that I am working on but it is too early to reveal anything about it. Other than that, on the music video front, I am working with most of the Punjabi artistes on their respective singles.