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Prashant Johari: Failure has been my biggest teacher

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Without any professional training to fall on and learning on the go while assisting in various departments of film making, youngster Prashant Johari was eventually able to fulfill his directorial dreams.

“I never went to any film school, instead went to watch films, something I have been doing since I was a kid,” he shares.

Hailing from Patna, Johari (29) tells, “I remember going for movie outings with my parents. It was then the enjoyment turned into an ever growing passion. In Bihar we don’t have career options other than engineering, medical or government job. So, in higher school I joined IPTA group to learn basics of acting.”

Moving in the field of direction Johari decided to join mass communication course. “I took admission in NIFT, Kunnur so that I can take a step closer to the world of cinema via fashion simultaneously obtaining a professional degree. It was there I started a dramatics club and began training others. Four four years I did a lot of theatre there. Then I got a job in a fashion company in Delhi.”

Johari wished to join a film institute but this couldn’t materialize then. “I had an education loan to pay so couldn’t afford a film course. It was in that period, I watched one of my favourite directors, Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha and decided this is it what I want to do and it was that same night I quit my job. I went to Mumbai (2016) and started assisting in costume designing and writing department. I even did ghost writing”

There he met his college senior Praneet Verma, also from Bihar. “Verma wanted to establish his production house and so we became a team. We started working on a web-series but had to stop the work due to lack of funds then eventually made a short film Antarman but it couldn’t find any takers. Failure has been my biggest teacher.”

The youngster then started working on the film Odd Couple. “We jointly wrote the story based on platonic love, I wrote the screenplay and dialogues. The film was completed in 2019 and we sent it to the festival circuit. It travelled to ten festivals including New York, Ireland and across India.”

But, there was a setback in store for him. “We were scheduled to release the film in 2020 but the pandemic struck and its release got pushed. The delay was depressing and heartbreaking. It was last month that it could release but in selected theatres and is now streaming on OTT where it is getting good response.”

Johari just wrapped the script for a film Happy Birthday Mummy which he plans to shoot in the slums of Mumbai or Pune.

When asked about any plans to shoot a project in his own belt, he says, “My stories are based pan-India but we do have characters from North. Like Divyendu Sharma is a Bihari and we have a taxi driver from Lucknow as I frequently visit the place due to my relatives. I have also written a web series which is focused on Bihar, UP and Delhi. I am looking forward to shoot there soon.”

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