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Business of filmmaking: Hobbies to award winners

Creativities of Singapore NRIs


Creativities of Singapore NRIs


Shilpa … strong interest in independent filmmaking.


The business of filmmaking, mostly on micro-budgets and short stories, is growing among Indian-origin professionals in Singapore who have built on their hobbies of writing stories and scripts as well as acting and directing.

The independent films, though not commercially planned, are ambitiously done and have gain good grounds with global audiences. Some of the recently made films have won accolades in India and abroad for featuring Indian life-styles, both in set in India and Singapore scenes.

One recent award-winning film is by Singapore-based Shilpa Krishnan Shukla. Tashi, a family drama, has snared 11 awards in India.

Most recently, the film was recognised with top honours at the NEZ International Film Festival in Kolkata. One of the main actors, Tania Mukherjee, also won the Best Actress Award at NEZ Festival.

Tashi was the Closing Film at the Festival and bagged the Infinite Vistas Award for Best Feature Film as well as the award of Best Cinematography for Mathew Jenif Joseph of India.

A film buff, Shilpa is among a growing NRI group of filmmakers and actors who have been creating film contents on South Asian life-styles for the world.

Having been in filmmaking for 10 years, she has launched another production amidst a growing trend among Indian professionals pursuing films as hobbies. [email protected] is her 11th production, which she launched end of November 2018 in Singapore.

The next film is made of eight segments on the daily relationships between brother-sister, husband-wife and lovers or friends. Such anecdotes revive a lot of cultural links with India and the Indian diaspora residing across the world. The USP of this film ([email protected]) is that it is an anthology of 8 films, each film is a different Indian regional language.

Just as Tashi was shot in eight days, the next venture will also be shot in eight days in February 2019 with filming crew from India, said Shilpa, a full-time Global Marketing Director of an international corporation.

“There is an increasing interest amongst members of the South Asian community in Singapore to make films in regional Indian-English languages,” said Shilpa who started doing films about 10 years ago first with a short one-minute clip.

“I just love the process of film making, rehearsals, spending time with cast, editing and other activities,” said Shilpa, who came to Singapore from Kerala on a junior college scholarship and went on to do computer engineering at the National University of Singapore.

Her previous feature film, a Malayalam-English bilingual feature film ‘Pularum Iniyum Naalekal’ or ‘There’s Always Tomorrow’ went to 37 film festivals around the world and picked up 18 awards including those for Best Film, Best Director, Best Story, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Editing and Best Actress.

Apart from Shilpa, there are other Singapore-based filmmakers like Sangeeta Nambiar, Tagore Almeida, Sarika Joshi, Aditya Kriplani, Zafar Anjum, Anish Kunnath and Anand Paga, who are creating independent cinema content that is South Asia-inspired, for the world.

“In the last couple of years, there has been a flourishing of talent in theatre and filmmaking in the Indian community in Singapore,” noted Zafar Anjum, founder of startup Filmwallas which has produced three short films based in Singapore., a video platform that has some veteran filmmakers from India such as Prakash Jha, Nagesh Kukunoor, Ashish Vidyarthi and Shishir Sharma as advisors, has been engaged in doing workshops and short films in Singapore.

Filmwallas’ Hindi-Urdu film “More Chai Please”, a film set in Singapore and Lucknow, was shown at a lit fest early this year in Lucknow.

Crime thriller, The Corporate Wolf, was made with local Singaporean talent in English, said Zafar whose Filmwallas is also involved in the making of a comedy web series which is going on the floor soon.

“Similarly, there are many young and talented filmmakers who are making shorts or feature films in Malyalam and Tamil languages. Some are working on documentaries too,” said Zafar of more and more Indian professionals working in Singapore mostly making low-budget films, directing and acting as hobbies and or part-time ventures.

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