ABOUT SYED IJTABA

Syed Ijtaba Is A Writer-Director And A Filmmaker. He Is Based In Mumbai And Is Currently Working On His Next Projects
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15 YEARS OF ACADEMICS FROM INDIA’S PRIME PLACES
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17 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WITH INDIA’S TOP RATE FILMMAKERS
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25 PROJECTS OF FILMS, ADS, VIDEOS & CONTENT CREATION
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100 PERCENT PROFICIENCY, TRANSPARENCY, FAIRNESS & HONESTY

After schooling at Bishop Westcott Boys’ School, I went to St. Xavier’s College to pursue the Intermediate of Science. I then graduated from Hindu College, Delhi University. My post-graduate studies followed this in Filmmaking and VFX.

Film directing is a multi-discipline endeavor, and a Director acquires many skills over the years. I have professional-grade expertise in Final Cut Pro & Fusion. I am also a certified Cinema drone flier. 

I have been working in this industry on all kinds of projects, be it star-studded projects or small-budget ones; I not only have deep scientific knowledge of all the aspects of filmmaking but also have all the necessary skills to implement it and mount any project on a grand scale.
When I was still studying at Hindu College, my first work experience happened as an Assistant Director with Debaloy Dey in Chandramukhi. After this, I worked with the ace filmmaker Feroz Khan for years. This laid my foundation in production, direction, and editing at the best technological hubs in India. Following this, I worked with Jayaprakash, Pankaj Prashar, Mani Ratnam, and Rakesh Mehra.

I made my directorial debut with the feature film ‘India Phir Bhi No.1’ produced by Uttam Kumar, featuring Milind Soman, Tara Deshpande, Milind Gunaji, and others.

Towards the end of my debut feature film, a personal and emotional challenge left me shattered and off-color. I don’t know how much you believe in Hindu astrology, still, on the advice of a Guruji, I decided to take a long break from independent filmmaking because what he had predicted had left me compelled and convinced. Now, my time is here and I intend to rock India with ‘Bhagwat Geeta Calling.’

During this period I mostly worked for others.  I also took this opportunity to write the manuscripts of my two-volume book ‘The Hidden India Vol. 1 – Story Of Naina And The Brahmin Master’ & ‘The Hidden India Vol. 2 – The Saga Of Timeless Servitude’. These volumes espouse the suppressed history of united India, told through powerful characters that form the bedrock of this great land.  I intend to publish Vol. 1 early next year.

The Screenplay ‘Bhagwat Geeta Calling’ is a part-adaption of the first volume, ‘Story Of Naina And The Brahmin Master.’

MY LEARNING

A genius who just disappeared

Taking the clap is the first act on the journey of becoming a film director. Mine was for Debloy Dey on Sri Devi in the film ‘Chandramukhi’. The memory still lingers.

A Maestro. A loving father to Fardeen & Laila

My foundation of filmmaking was with him. His style, passion and his world be it content creation, directing or editing shaped my initial years at India’s top facilities and centres. Remembering and praying for you Khan Saheb.

Top rate filmmaker. A loving person

A memorable experience working with him. His expertise in handling and managing small budget film pressure was immensely valuable. His understanding of cinema and its techniques was unique in many ways and a memorable learning.

Versatile Filmmaker & A Guru

Exceptionally talented director and maker of films like Jalwa, Chaalbaaz among others. My experience of making Ads and TV commercial films belong to him. Though a short but none the less a very rewarding experience.   

A Padam Sri. The Best

You have to be on his set to know his class. The art of camera placement and the techniques of how to bring in the kinetic energy to any shots I learnt from him. Though a brief association but working on his sets was a great and a tremendous learning.

A master director, an exceptional human being.

Soft spoken, considerate and a genius that he is, the work culture and the values he brings to the table is world class. A top notch professional experience and a heartfelt approach to filmmaking one gets to learn from him. A gentleman and an endearing filmmaker.

MY DIRECTORIAL DEBUT

INDIA PHIR BHI NO. 1

India Phir Bhi No.1 attempts to understand the youth of our country. It endeavours to reflect on their mind-set as they try to explore social transformation through self-realisation. It captures the realism of their thought, the opportunities they create, the values they pursue and the end they meet. 

CAST & CREW

CAST – MILIND SOMAN, TARA DESHPANDE
MILIND GUNAJI, ARIF ZAKIRYA, PRAVEEN KUMAR
PRODUCER – UTTAM KUMAR
WRITER & DIRECTOR – SYED IJTABA
MUSIC DIRECTOR – ZAMEER BIKANERI
LYRICISTS – NAQSH LAYALPURI & SATYA PRAKASH

YOU MAY TAKE A PEEK

CURRENTLY WORKING ON

A FEATURE FILM ‘BHAGWAT GEETA CALLING’ & A WEB SERIES ‘ABHIH’

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Post Operation Greenhunt against the Maoists in Jharkhand, an IPS officer is confronted with the challenge that he can either save his fiancee or get justice for a seven-year-old orphan girl. Bhagwat Geeta Calling is about what he chooses and why.

Bhagwat Geeta Calling is the story of IPS Ayushman Purohit. As Ayushman begins to find ground in the administrative-bureaucratic setup, his guiding principles of life come into conflict and run head-on to the corrupt crime syndicate of the political masters he must serve. The rot is deep, and the situation is helpless. He makes a few decisions following his heart, which unleashes an avalanche of obstacles and life-threatening challenges in his professional domain and cripples his love life, and his survival is at stake. What Ayushman does is what makes the film novel. Bhagwat Geeta Calling is a captivating journey of  Ayushman. Light and full of humor, the film provides a gripping narration.

In the past few years, exciting content and novel story-screenplay have played a significant role in marketing the film to wider audiences, alongside addressing important and relevant social causes. There are films that showcased fresh, relevant, compelling content that kick-started meaningful conversations and debates around issues of contemporary relevance and have done very well. Bhagwat Geeta Calling is a take on the modern-day issues plaguing us and offers a compelling reason why we must act now.

Abhih is a take on the land mafia and how they operate in connivance with the men in power. Everything is hunky-dory for Manohar Mishra until a new upright SDM gets posted in his subdivision. When the SDM falls for Manohar’s beautiful daughter, the story takes a complex turn.
The web series Abhih is a gripping tale of ordinary people embroiled in extraordinary situations.
It is a boom time for entertainment content. The OTT platforms and the reshaping of India’s digital content distribution and consumption have dramatically altered the entertainment industry landscape.  This digital revolution has created a tectonic shift in content consumption in India. Though there are marked signs that the Indian economy has slowed down because of Covid, despite this apparent downturn in overall economic growth, the media and entertainment industry (M&E) in India has started posting a solid growth of 13 percent to reach INR1631 billion. Abhih intends to enjoy a slice of this pie.

NEW TO FILMMAKING?

Filmmaking consist of seamlessly working and integrating many different areas of creativity and art-form. Typically, it can be chronically divided into many stages such as Development, Pre-Production, Production, Principal Photography, Wrap, Post-Production and Distribution. Broadly, we can summarise and understand the entire workflow of filmmaking into its following four sub-headings.
This stage is about planning and getting ready the idea you have chosen for your film. This stage is about its development and how you want to tell your story. Once you are sorted out with these you write the various drafts of your script until you are finally ready with the one you want to make. Then comes the breaking down of the script to get the financial forecast and the budget of the film. All along, you also finalise all the people and all the gears you want to work with.  You Choose locations. Seek all permissions. Make all legal agreements. The list goes on… Today, filmmaking has seen drastic changes in all the area of its making. For instance, it is not unusual to see people signing a 400-page agreement which a decade ago was done through value of ‘word’.
This is about filming the film. Here, we are on the set with our equipment, cast and crew and all set to roll the camera. It is also the time for rehearsing, improvising and engaging with cast and crew to extract the best from them.  For any quality work and serious professional filmmaking, a good knowledge of camera, sound and of the many other specialised branches contributing to your film is essential. It is at this stage where substantial amount of your money is spent. The industry has evolved a big way and today there are systems, protocols and people in place to manage everything efficiently and to oversee the entire workflow .
This is about completing your film and getting it ready for the release. This stage starts with editing the film. Once done with the rough cut, we begin adding things like sound effects, music, visual effects, and color correction. Today, these processes are done by the help of specialized software. There are specialists who contribute to your film and do these for you, but as the filmmaker you are responsible for the creative and aesthetic content and the look and the feel of the film.
Arguably, this is the most difficult stage of the filmmaking process. Here, things have gone out of your hand. Now people will watch and monetarily judge your film.
Typically, you would hire a Marketing & Distribution Consultant who, after watching your film, will advice you on how big the release should be, how big the marketing ought to be, what kinds of cinema halls it should be released in, what would be the various verticals and their budget and expenses in the distribution of the film. He helps in selling and distributing the film on the various platforms.
It must be noted that this is a golden time for films in India. The OTT platforms, the emerging revenue mix coming from Cable, Satellite and Digital Rights and the hunger of the people for quality content have made this stage both easy and profitable for a well made film.

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WHY STORY TELLING BUSINESS?

India’s media and entertainment (M&E) sector which was valued at Rs. 2,64,588 crore in 2018 continues to post marked growth. KPMG in India’s media and entertainment report 2019 says that the slowdown in consumption has had a moderate impact on some sectors in the Indian media and entertainment (M&E) industry, which grew by 13.3 per cent in FY19, to reach a size of INR1.63 trillion, with a CAGR of 11.5 per cent over FY15-FY19, but the strong growth displayed by the digital, gaming and the film segments has contributed to the overall performance of the sector. India is one of the fastest growing entertainment and media markets globally and is expected to keep that momentum.
A major reason for this exponential growth is the digitisation and the infusion of over-the-top (OTT) platforms. Specifically, the digital revolution has created a tectonic shift in content consumption in India.
The digital segment has continued to be the torchbearer of growth of the industry in FY19, with a 43.4 per cent growth taking the overall segment (including digital advertising and subscription revenues from OTT video and audio) to INR173 billion in FY19.
The Indian M&E industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.5 per cent during FY19 to FY24 to reach a size of INR3, 070 billion by FY24.
According to the KPMG in India’s media and entertainment report 2019,  FY19 was an excellent year for the film industry, with the segment experiencing a higher than expected growth of 15.1 per cent in FY19 over previous year on the back of robust box office collections, with more than thirteen movies crossing INR1 billion at the Indian box office. This was the best performance in the past decade at the box office, as content took centre-stage and small budget movies turned out to be box office money-spinners.
Importantly, with a sharp increase in consumption on OTT platforms, the revenues from digital rights saw a substantial increase in FY19, with the sub-segment growing the fastest at 30 per cent in FY19, albeit from a smaller base.
It needs to be understood that India is not a single market but a combination of multiple markets, each with its unique characteristics. Content today is being created in eight major Indian languages besides Hindi and English.
According to the report, the film industry in India is to hit $3.7 billion by 2020. At present, the film industry grosses a total revenue of Rs 13,800 crore ($2.1 billion), and it has grown at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 10% in the last couple of years.
Despite the hurdles, the Indian film industry is the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced. India produces 1,500-2,000 films every year in more than 20 languages.
According to a report by global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), India’s video streaming industry is all set to grow at a CAGR of 21.82% to reach Rs. 11,977 crore by 2023. Subscription video on demand would grow at 23.3% CAGR to $1.5 b, 89.4% of overall revenues.
In keeping with the global digitisation trend, OTT platforms, which comprise both American platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as well as local Indian services like ZEE5, VOOT, Eros Now and ALTBalaji, have invested heavily in acquiring exclusive rights to cinematographic films, which in doing so, have pioneered a digital-only film market in India since 2018.
The entertainment content industry is at the cusp of a revolution spurred by the OTT boom of the past two to three years.
As of 2018, India is the tenth largest market for OTT in the world with overall revenue standing at Rs. 4,462 crore. Subscription-based video-on-demand platforms are projected to grow at a CAGR of 23.33% to reach Rs. 10,712 crore between 2018-2023. According to experts, the OTT market is clearly tilted towards advertising right now. Advertising-led platforms are a Rs. 4,500 crore industry compared to ₹1,500 crore for subscription services which are incidentally, growing faster.
According to the report, Indian video OTT service is to grow at 21.8% CAGR to reach $1.7 billion by 2023 from $638 million in 2018. Indian OTT market will overtake South Korea to become the 8th biggest market in the world by 2023.
The over-the-top (OTT) video industry will record the highest growth rate among all segments and drive evolution over the next four years in the overall media and entertainment industry in the country that will rise by 11.28% to reach Rs. 4,51,405 crore.